The Supreme Court today deferred till November 26 hearing on the plea of Zakia Jafri challenging the clean chit given by the Special Investigating Team (SIT) to Narendra Modi, who was then Gujarat Chief Minister, in connection with the 2002 post-Godhra riots.
Zakia, the wife of Ehsan Jafri, an ex-Congress lawmker who was killed in one of the worst incidents during the riots, has challenged the Gujarat High Court's October 5, 2017 order rejecting her plea against the SIT's decision.
A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar said, "The matter will take some time for hearing. The plea will be heard on November 26".
At the outset, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for the SIT, said Zakia's plea was not maintainable and social activist Teesta Setalvad cannot be the second petitioner in the case.
The bench said it will look into the application before hearing the matter on making Setalvad as the second petitioner in Ms Jafri's plea.
During the previous hearing, Ms Jafri's counsel had said that notice needs to be issued in the plea as it pertains to the aspect of alleged "larger conspiracy" during the period from February 27, 2002 and May 2002 and had also maintained that after the SIT gave a clean chit in its closure report in the case before a trial judge, a protest was filed by the petitioner which was dismissed by the magistrate without considering "substantiated merits".
On February 8, 2012, the SIT filed a closure report, giving the clean chit to PM Modi and 63 others, including senior government officials, saying there was "no prosecutable evidence" against them.
"The present Special Leave Petition is filed before this Court against the final judgement and order dated October 5, 2017 passed by the High Court of Gujarat...which erroneously upheld the order of the magistrate accepting the closure report filed by the Special Investigative Agency appointed by this Court concerning the violence in Gujarat in 2002," Zakia, in her plea filed through advocate Aparna Bhat, submitted.
The plea had further said the high court "failed to appreciate" the petitioner's complaint which was independent of the Gulberg case registered at Meghaninagar Police Station.
Zakia had sought an interim order to the SIT to carry out further investigation and the evidence provided by her before the magistrate through the protest petition.