10 ways the judiciary slipped up


THE SC should have issued suo moto notice to the government after the NHRC’s 2002 report, which had observed that “a serious failure of intelligence and action marked the events leading to the Godhra tragedy and the subsequent deaths and destruction”.

2 IN 2002, the SC should have transferred 10 major cases to the CBI or to some other independent agency. Even though the apex court ordered these cases to be fast-tracked, it ruled out the transfer of cases.

3 THE SC ordered the reopening of 2,000-odd cases, which were closed by the police without proper probes. But the apex court didn’t closely follow up on the reopened cases as a result of which most of them were again closed without meeting the ends of justice.

4 EITHER THE Gujarat HC or the SC should have taken cognizance of call records submitted by police officer Rahul Sharma in 2004. These exposed the administration’s dereliction of duty and subversion of the Gulberg Society and Naroda Patiya massacre cases.

5 IN THE wake of the TEHELKA exposé of state complicity in the riots, Zakia Jafri and the CJP filed an application before the HC asking for verification of the authenticity of the tapes. The court dismissed the application. The SC too failed to take a firm stand and didn’t pass any order. It was finally left to the NHRC to order a CBI inquiry.

6 AFTER STAYING the trials in nine cases in November 2003, the SC allowed the petitions to drag on for the next five years. It was only in March 2008 that it constituted an SIT and ordered reinvestigation.

7 THE APEX COURT enlisted Gujarat cadre cops into the SIT and in a way re-entrusted the probe into the hands of the state police, which was reporting directly to the Modi government and was accused of subverting of justice.

THE SC chose a retired CBI director as the head of the SIT, who visited Gujarat not more than once or twice a month and kept himself at an arm’s length from the field investigations. The SC could have instead chosen retired judges to monitor the probe.

THE SC first expressed displeasure with the SIT’s report on Modi and made Amicus Curiae Raju Ramachandran carry out an independent exercise of assessing the material collected by the SIT and submit a report. But in a wishy-washy order passed last September, the SC left it to the discretion of the SIT whether it would like to produce the amicus report before the magistrate.

10 THERE WERE several petitions filed before the Gujarat HC and the SC praying for an investigation into the mass graves discovered in more than a dozen places across Gujarat. Both the courts turned down the prayer.


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