Gujarat riots: SC disposes of pleas seeking proper probe

The Supreme Court on Tuesday wrapped up its proceedings in connection with 2002 Gujarat riot cases, as it disposed of ten petitions, including a plea filed by the National Human Rights Commission, seeking proper investigation in the cases of violence during the riots.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India U.U. Lalit and comprising Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and J.B. Pardiwala disposed of the cases as infructuous. It 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 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 at present under custody in a fresh case registered by the Gujarat Police. The top court granted liberty to Setalvad to approach 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 Naroda Gaon area, is pending and it 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.

The top court said, “The matters are therefore disposed of as being infructuous”. However, it added that the Naroda Gaon trial must be taken to conclusion in accordance with law.

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