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Naroda Gaam rioting case judge to stay

January 29, 2013 17:10 IST

Gujarat High Court on Tuesday rejected applications by former state minister Maya Kodnani and two others against the decision of the trial court judge who had refused to recuse herself from Naroda Gaam riot case.

Justice K M Thakar of the high court said there were no grounds or reasons to consider the trial judge's removal.

The high court also noted that following the setting up of designated courts for the 2002 riot cases by the Supreme Court, the judges were appointed by chief justice of Gujarat high court, and "hence this court is of the opinion not to interfere in the matter".

Kodnani, Babu Bajrangi and Kishan Korani had challenged the decision of trial judge Jyotsna Yagnik who had rejected their plea that she should pull out of the trial.

The present case before judge Yagnik relates to the incidents in Naroda Gaam where 11 people of the minority community were killed in post-Godhra riots.

Kodnani and others had said that Yagnik had pronounced them guilty in Naroda Paitya riot case, and they would not get fair and impartial trial if the same judge were to Naroda Gaam case.

In August last year, Yagnik had sentenced Kodnani, Bajrangi and Korani to life imprisonment, alongwith 28 other accused, in the Naroda Patiya case.

Advocate Nirupam Nanavati, who appeared for Kodnani and others, had argued that his clients had "reasonable apprehensions that if same judge would preside over this case, it will deprive us with the fair and impartial trial as elements of pre-conceived notion, pre-determination and pre-disposition are there in this scenario".

"Though technically both the cases have different FIRs and different trials, both have certain common witnesses and evidence upon which judicial opinion was formed and we were held guilty," he said.

But special prosecutor J M Panchal argued that Criminal Procedure Code did not have any provision allowing removal of the judge on this ground.

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