On Monday, the Supreme Court of India has adjourned the hearing of Zakia Jafri’s petition challenging the acquittal of Narendra Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat, and several others in the 2002 Godhra riots case, till January third week. To be noted, Zakia Jafri is the widow of slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri who was killed by a mob which attacked the Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002.
On November 26 this year, the plea was presented before Justices AM Khanwilkar and Deepak Gupta. They had deferred the hearing in the case by a week. Earlier too, the hearing was deferred by a week on November 19.
Last year on October 5, Zakia Jafri has challenged the judgement of the Gujarat High Court which upheld the clean chit given to several politicians and senior bureaucrats by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in its closure report, citing lack of ‘prosecutable evidence’ against them.
Further, the petition read that the High Court refused to interfere with the Magistrate’s order ‘despite large amount of documentation and contemporaneous evidence that existed which made out a triable case against all the accused’.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for the SIT, said Zakia’s plea was not maintainable and that “It is an issue of facts and for how long it can go on.”
Tushar Mehta- Solicitor General, told the court that there were concurrent findings of the subordinate court and the High Court as well rejecting the plea of petitioner Zakia.
Last year, the Gujarat High Court, had upheld the judgement of the metropolitan court and rejected Zakia’s allegations that cases such as Naroda Patiya, Naroda Gam and Gulberg were part of a ‘larger conspiracy’.
Zakia Jafri had made allegations against Modi and the officers from the state machinery, after five years of the Gujarat riots.
In the the petition, Zakia had written that she in her case had levelled allegations against various bureaucrats, police officers and political leaders for alleged ‘conspiracy, abatement and hate speech’, culminating in the 2002 violence. Zakia’s petition also read that “As contemporaneous official data began to be released, including the intelligence collected by the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB), it transpired that the SIB had information about systematic movements of ‘kar sevaks’ and accumulation of arms, which was ignored and facilitated by inaction.”
Notably, in the year 2012, a metropolitan court acquitted all 58 accused in the post-Godhra riots in which 69 people were killed.