The amicus curiae report on the Zakia Jafri case drew sharp reaction from the Bharatiya Janata Party which rejected its conclusion that Naredra Modi can be prosecuted for “promoting enmity” during the 2002 Gujarat riots while the Congress insisted it has removed all doubts about his role.
The BJP stood by Mr. Modi saying the law is guided by due process and evidence and not the opinion of an amicus curiae (who assists the court) or any lawyer.
“There is no provision under Code of Criminal Procedure or the Evidence Act for the opinion of a lawyer or an amicus curiae. Investigation is exclusively a police function and not a lawyer’s function. Police is trained for investigations but a lawyer is not,” senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said.
The SIT report, a copy of which was handed over to Zakia Jafri — widow of Congress leader Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the riots — has given a clean chit to Mr. Modi.
However, an independent report by amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran, differs from the SIT. He maintains that Mr. Modi can be tried under different sections of the IPC for promoting enmity among different groups on ground of religion, for disobeying the law with the intent to cause injury to any person and for creating hatred or ill-will.
The BJP was not impressed with these claims.
“Criminal trials are to be conducted under due process of law and not on the basis on opinions. If after considering the opinion of amicus curiae the investigating agency , i.e. the SIT is of an opinion then that opinion is final, subject to what a trial court can do,” Mr. Jaitley said.
The Congress, however maintained Mr. Modi is guilty.
“No sensible person can doubt that the Gujarat Chief Minister or BJP did have a responsibility for the post-Godhra riots,” party spokesperson Manish Tewari said.