Suspended Indian Police Service officer Sanjiv Bhatt on Thursday got relief as the Gujarat high court quashed a lower court's order in the 1990 case of alleged police atrocity, and directed that Bhatt's revision petition be decided in six weeks.
Bhatt has approached high court last month against Jamnagar district court's order rejecting his plea for condonation of delay in filing revision petition in the two decades old case.
Rejection of Bhatt's application by Jamnagar court had paved way for the framing of charges against him in the case, which is related to death of a person due to alleged police torture when Bhatt was posted in Jamnagar.
Justice Anant S Dave on Thursday set aside the Jamnagar court's order, and said the lower court must hear and decide the revision petition filed by Bhatt within six weeks.
Bhatt's lawyer I H Sayed said that the Jamnagar court had rejected his application saying that trial was already much delayed, so the revision petition was not maintainable.
The high court on Thursday observed that the rejection of Bhatt's application by the lower court was unwarranted and his revision petition was maintainable, advocate Sayed said.
Bhatt has been in the news for the last couple of years for his allegations against Chief Minister Narendra Modi with regard to 2002 communal riots.
Bhatt filed the revision petition in the Jamnagar court in July last year, along with a condonation of delay application, after the state government withdrew its own revision petition, filed in 1996.
The state too had defended Bhatt and six other policemen, saying that they had acted in discharge of duty. But withdrawal of this petition by state government last July exposed Bhatt and others to prosecution.
Last year, the high court had refused to stay the criminal proceedings against Bhatt, and observed that the framing of charges would be subject to outcome of his criminal revision petition before the Jamnagar court.
The case dates back to 1990, when Prahbudas Vaishnani, who was arrested during a communal flare-up in Jamkhambhalia town in Jamnagar district, died in a hospital few days after he was released from the police custody.
Bhatt was then Assistant Superintended of Police there. Following this, his brother Amrutlal filed complaint of custodial torture against Bhatt and six others.