The Supreme Court on Tuesday disposed of a batch of 11 petitions, including a plea filed by the National Human Rights Commission, seeking its intervention in the 2002 Gujarat riots case. Wrapping up its proceedings, the top court noted that the petitions had become infructuous in view of the subsequent developments in the matter.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India U U Lalit noted that the prayer in the main plea was to transfer the investigation to the CBI, which the high court denied, and that there was also a petition by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The CJI-led bench, also comprising Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and J.B. Pardiwala, observed that the court had constituted an SIT to conduct the investigation and prosecution of nine cases connected with riots and the trial in eight out of those cases are complete, and the final arguments were going in the trial court in one case.
Advocate Aparna Bhat submitted that a plea made by activist Teesta Setalvad, whose NGO Citizens for Peace and Justice had moved an application in the apex court for proper investigation in riot cases, seeking protection was pending. Bhat added that she could not get instructions from Setalvad as she is currently under custody in a fresh case registered by the Gujarat Police. The top court granted liberty to Setalvad to approach the concerned authority for seeking protection, which would decide her application as per law.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing the SIT, submitted that trial in only one matter out of the nine cases, pertaining to the Naroda Gaon area, is pending and is at the stage of final arguments. The top court was informed that in the other cases, trials were complete and those cases were either before the high court or the apex court. The top court noted that advocates appearing for the petitioners have accepted the statement of the SIT of completing the investigation. The bench said that since all matters have now become infructuous, the court may need not entertain these petitions any longer.