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SC clears decks for trial courts to give verdicts in Guj riots


Supreme Court gave the green signal for the trial courts in Gujarat to give their verdict in the 2002 Godhra train carnage and seven cases of communal riots that followed but kept on hold the judgement in the case in which Chief Minister Narendra Modi was questioned.


The Apex court paved the way for the pronouncement of the judgements after it vacated its 6th May stay order. 


59 persons died in the Sabarmati express attack in Godhra on 27th February, 2002 while around 1,000 persons were killed in the resultant riots.


The verdict in the Gulberg Society case, in which Modi was questioned by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigating Team (SIT, will not be pronounced till the Apex Court lifts the stay.


Ex-Congress MP Ehasan Jafri was among those killed in the Gulberg Society riots.


A Special Bench of Justices D K Jain and P Sathasivam accepted the plea of the SIT for a further 15 days time to submit its report on the Gulberg Society killings.


The Bench also sought response from Gujarat Government's counsel Hemantika Wahi on the plea for transfer of B U Joshi, the judge hearing the Gulberg Society case, over allegations of bias.


In another development, the Court accepted the plea of Prashant Bhushan to step down as Amicus Curaie after his recusal was sought by the Gujarat government.


The eight courts which are now free to pronounce their verdicts which relate to two cases in Ode and one each in Sardarpura, British National Deepdra Darwasam, Naroda Gaon, Naroda Patya, Tarsali and Godhra.


The trial in one case pertaining to Ode and another at British National Colony has already concluded while the remaining are in the process of completion, according to Wahi.


The apex court also rejected the plea of counsel Kamini Jaiswal appearing for some of the victims that the SIT be reconstituted as she apprehended that one of the senior Gujarat cadre IPS officer Ashish Bhatia was bound to act in a partisan manner.


"It is not possible at this stage. Many of them (accused) are in the jail. It will delay the whole process. The investigation is being done by somebody else," the Bench said rejecting the plea.


The Bench told senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for a local MLA Kalu Marwari, that it will consider at a later stage his plea forseeking recall of the 27th April, 2009 order asking SIT to look into Zakia Jafri's allegations.


The senior counsel argued that the apex court's order was ultra vires as no opportunity was given to the accused before passing the direction.


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