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Remove restrictions on Sarabhai: SC

February 16, 2004 16:37 IST
Last Updated: February 16, 2004 16:42 IST

The Supreme Court Monday expressed serious concern over restrictions imposed on noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai and told the Gujarat government to "see that these restrictions are removed by February 23".

These observations came from a bench comprising Chief Justice V N Khare, Justice A R Lakshmanan and Justice S H Kapadia during hearing on a petition seeking transfer of post-Godhra riot cases outside Gujarat.

"She is not a criminal. There has to be some fairness in the prosecution of persons," the chief justice observed when Additional Solicitor General Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for the Gujarat government, said the restrictions were imposed by a trial court seized of a criminal case lodged against her.

During the last hearing, Sarabhai's counsel Kapil Sibal had stated that she was being harassed by the Gujarat police only because she had filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the laxity in the probe into riot cases and sought transfer of the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

When Rohtagi pointed to the pendency of a criminal case against her, the bench said, "Sometimes it gives an impression that she is being prosecuted for approaching the court. See to it that by the next date the restrictions on her movement are lifted."

The bench also posted the matter for further hearing on February 23 and issued notice to the government on a petition filed by the Citizens for Justice and Peace seeking transfer of the Godhra train carnage case outside the state.

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