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Monitoring of Gujarat riot cases to continue: SC

October 11, 2011 20:00 IST
The Gujarat government's plea to stop monitoring of the trial of the post-Godhra riot cases was on Tuesday virtually turned down by the Supreme Court which said it would not make much difference if monitoring goes on for a few more months.

The state government submitted that monitoring of cases should come to an end, as it would amount to running parallel proceedings by the apex court when the charge sheets have been filed and trial was going on.

 However, a three-judge special bench headed by Justice D K Jain said, "Monitoring of a case after filing of a chargesheet is not a new phenomenon. Let the monitoring continue for a few more months. It would not make much difference. It is not a new rule which has come into existance today."

"It is not a new law laid down today. The special investigating team has been monitoring the trial on our order for the last two years. A parallel situation is there for the last two years," the bench, also comprising justices P Sathasivan and Aftab Alam, said.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatagi, appearing for the state government, said monitoring should end as chargesheets have been filed in these cases and the trial was going on and the superior courts should let the matter go to the trial court.

The bench said it was aware of the situation and will consider the state government's plea later. "We will consider. We are aware of the situation," the bench said.

The court also pulled up SIT headed by former Central Bureau of Investigation chief R K Raghvan for changing its stand on video recording of the trial court proceedings in Gulberga Society riot case.

The SIT chief had last year in March had written a letter to the apex court asking its permission to videograph the proceedings but today when asked by the apex court it said there was no need for it. "Why this apparent change of mind," the bench remarked.

"Trial has to start after last order. SIT is supposed to do something. We are not saying what it should do. Some decision has to be taken by the trial court. There can be a supplementary chargesheet in the case," the bench said.

The SIT then said it has no problem in court proceedings being videographed. "Whether you like it or not, we have to take a decision on it. It might have some implication," the bench said.

The court at present is monitoring 10 sensitive cases after the National Human Rights Commission and various non-government organisations termed the investigations into these to be shoddy and unreliable.

The 10 cases being monitored are: Gulberg Society, Ode, Sardarpura, Narodao Gaon, Naroda Patya, Baranpura, Machipith, Tarsali, Pandarwada and Raghavapura. An estimated 2,000 people were killed in post-Godhra riots in 2002.

In the last order on September 12, the Supreme Court had refused to pass any order on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's alleged inaction to contain the riots of 2002 and left it to the concerned magistrate's court to decide the course of action against him on the basis of the SIT report.

The court had said the final report of the SIT probe, which was done on its direction, would be placed before the concerned magistrate who will take a decision on the further proceedings.

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