Tuesday, October 16, 2012

High court reserves order on Godhra panel extensions

The Gujarat high court on Friday reserved its order on the PIL challenging the setting up of the Nanavati Commission and its lengthy tenure to probe the 2002 riots.
    The proceedings on this issue lasted for nearly a year with various allegations levelled against the state government. Petitioner’s counsel K G Pandit had earlier objected to the extensions granted to the probe panel even after a decade of its constitution.
    The PIL raised objection to the Godhra commission’s work and also levelled allegations that there was a nexus between the chairman of the commission and the state government. It cited a TOI report saying both the sons of retired justice G T Nanavati were hired by the state government after constitution of the probe panel.
    Advocate Pandit also cited a Supreme Court order in connection with Justice Parekh Commission that was set up by the Uttar Pradesh government. In this order, the lawyer contended, the SC had laid down a guideline for the state governments for setting up of such inquiry commissions. The SC had deprecated the practice of long tenure of such probe panels on the ground that public money is spent on this exercise.
    The state government had answered to the allegation on several occasions in the past. On extensions granted to the commission, it was submitted that the probe panel had sought information from the Supreme Courtmandated special investigation team (SIT), which it did not receive and the issue was pending before the apex court. To this, the high court even asked that why should an inquiry commission seek information from another investigating agency, when the commission itself was set up for the same purpose.
    Lately, the state government told the HC that it could not represent the commission and make any undertaking on behalf of the commission as to when it will come up with final report. The government made it clear that the commission was independent.
    Till date, the commission has got 18 extensions with the present term lasting till December 31.