November 23, 2006
SC pulls up
Gujarat for lapses in '02 riot cases
SANJAY K SINGH
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up
the Gujarat government over the '02 riot cases, saying that it would
not allow the derailment of the criminal justice administration
system relating to the riots.
The criminal justice procedure has been forgotten by the state
machinery in such cases, the apex court sharply observed, while
disagreeing with the plea that taking up these cases would set a new
precedent in the criminal justice system.
“The police cannot do whatever they like under the protection
provided by the Criminal Procedure Code,” said a three-judge Bench
hearing 14 Gujarat riot related cases. The Bench said that the court
is not powerless in stepping into such cases.
The court asked the state machinery, “Do you mean to say that the
court is powerless where the chargesheets were not filed properly,
the procedures of the Criminal Procedure Code were forgotten,
post-mortem not properly done, bodies were buried and doctors gave
Asking the amicus in the case, senior counsel Harish Salve, to
submit a report on each such case and the suggestions and issues to
be decided, the bench posted the case for further hearing on
February 20. The state through its counsel Sourav Kirpal tried to
argue that in these cases the investigation is complete and
chargesheets have been filled.
The state, in its application seeking the dismissal of such
petitions said that criminal litigation is exclusively an issue
between the prosecution and the accused and a third party has no
right to interfere by way of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL).
There can be no monitoring after the chargesheet is filed, submitted
the state in its application citing a judgement of the apex court.
In the Rajiv Ranjan Singh vs Union of India case, the court has held
that a PIL is totally alien to pending criminal proceedings, the
The National Human Rights Commission had moved the PIL and sought
the transfer of trial of such cases outside the state. Senior
counsel KTS Tulsi appearing for some of the accused said that the
court cannot bypass the criminal justice procedure. His contention
was that these are matters for the trial court to decide. And if the
victims were not satisfied with the investigation, they have to file
an application before the trial court.
“We cannot invent a new procedure. The trial has to proceed in
accordance with the law and the procedure of the Criminal Procedure
Code,” Mr Tulsi said.