The Supreme Court on Friday recalled its order passed on March 19, issuing notice to the Nanavati Commission and the Gujarat government on a petition for a direction to the Nanavati Commission to summon Chief Minister Narendra Modi for questioning him in connection with the 2002 communal riots.
A Bench of justices D.K. Jain and A.K. Dave issued notice on special leave petitions filed by the Jan Sangarsh Manch. On Friday Justice Jain told senior counsel Colin Gonsalves, appearing for petitioner Amrish N. Patel seeking similar relief, that the court had issued notice on March 19 on the assumption that those two petitions were connected to the Nanavati Commission.
However, these petitions were related to some Godhra incident and not connected to the Nanavati Commission. Hence the Bench directed recall of the notice and directed the petition of Mr. Patel to be listed for further hearing on March 26.
Mr. Patel, representing the Manch submitted that Mr. Modi should be summoned by the Commission as his role as the Chief Minister fell within the ambit of the panel's enquiry. The Manch had filed an application before the Commission requesting issue of summons to seven persons including Mr. Modi for the purpose of enquiring into the role and conduct of the Chief Minister and/or any other Minister in his council of Ministers, police officers and political and non-political organisations in the Godhra and post-Godhra incidents which took place between February 27, 2002 and May 31, 2002. The Commission in its September 18, 2009 order rejected the plea and this was upheld by the Gujarat High Court. The Manch filed the present appeal against this order.
The Manch said that since the government itself amended the terms of reference for enquiring into the role and conduct of the Chief Minister and/or any other Minister in his Council of Ministers, police officers and political and non-political organisations in the Godhra and post-Godhra incidents, it was absolutely necessary to summon the Chief Minister and other Ministers and examine them, otherwise the entire amended terms of reference would get nullified. It sought quashing of the impugned order and a direction to the Commission to issue summons to Mr. Modi and others for examination.