Gujarat HC reserves order on summoning Narendra Modi

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Friday reserved its order on whether Chief Minister Narendra Modi should be summoned or not by a panel probing the 2002 post-Godhra riots.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya and Justice Akil Kureshi reserved the ruling after the state Government completed its argument where it questioned the locus standi of Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM), the NGO which had sought questioning of Modi, in the matter.

JSM had approached the High Court last year seeking quashing of the Nanavati Commission's order of not summoning Modi, and issuing summons to the BJP leader and three others for cross-examination with regard to the communal riots.

Today, Advocate General Kamal Trivedi argued that JSM, which represents some of the riot victims, had no locus standi to seek summoning of Modi. He demanded that the NGO's plea be rejected by the court.

JSM counsel Mukul Sinha submitted that the State had no right to oppose his plea as it was the Government which amended the terms of reference of the Commission in June 2002 for inquiring into the role and conduct of the Chief Minister and other Ministers with regard to the riots.

Therefore, Sinha, submitted, it was absolutely necessary to summon the Chief Minister and others.

During an earlier hearing, Sinha had maintained that by not summoning the CM and other Ministers, the entire amended terms of reference would be nullified.

He had argued that summoning of Modi and others was required for collecting evidence with regard to the Godhra train burning incident and subsequent riots.