Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Early compliance of SC order may make many happy


DNA 03OCT2011

Early compliance of SC order may make many happy

Rakesh Bhatnagar

When the Supreme Court passed an order allowing the Ahemdabad special court in Gujarat to examine the facts and all the material to be placed before it by the Special Investigating Team and decide whether Gujarat chief minister Narender Modi could be tried on the charge of his alleged culpability in the killing of Congress MP Ehesan Jaffari over eight years ago, both parties expressed their utmost satisfaction.
His wife Jakia Jaffri had alleged that Modi was responsible for the killing of her husband as the state's investigating agency "ignored" him in the probe. In due course, a senior IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt also corroborated her allegation as he filed an affidavit that he was present in the meeting that Modi had addressed asking the policemen and bureaucrats to let the Hindus vent their anger against the Godhra carnage.
Soon after the court's ruling, Bhatt told me that "I am very happy". Did he worry about his safety as he had sought security for his family, when asked, he said "no, I don't. My request is with the Supreme Court. Moreover, I am Gujarati and people of this state know me. I hope no harm would be done to me''.
Now, Bhatt has been arrested and lodged in the jail. His house has been frequently raided by the police since he was apprehended. As far as, the meritorious IPS officer is concerned, he has given all the facts and material to the Supreme Court. The common understanding is that the court hasn't finally disposed of the matter but it has sought to hand it over to an appropriate court for setting in the proper judicial process laid down under the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Evidence Act. Once that comes into motion, the criminal trial court would be initiated.
Bhatt's affidavit and fresh allegations besides senior lawyer Raju Ramachandran, who assisted the court in this case and examined various witnesses and victims, would accompany the SIT report.
Ramachandran's report is opposite to the SIT findings. If one goes by the restricted interpretation of the order, it could be said the trial court would only examine the SIT report that favours the state government and that also gives some hope to the alleged culprits that no more action against them is possible now.
On the other hand, a legitimate reading of the order confirms the trial court will neither exclude the Ramachandran report nor ignore the assertions made by Bhatt.
Justice that's been delayed for both the accused and accusers must not be permitted to be derailed on the pretext that the matter is pending before the top court.