The Supreme Court on Thursday took a serious view of the Centre for Justice and Peace (CJP), run by Teesta Setalvad, writing to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva on the Godhra riots cases.
“We can't allow foreign interference in our affairs and we can't approve of it,” said a Bench of Justices D.K. Jain, P. Sathasivam and Aftab Alam, which is hearing the Gujarat riots cases.
At the last hearing, amicus curiae Harish Salve drew the court's attention to Ms. Setalvad's letters to the United Nations forum on witness protection. The Bench sought Ms. Setalvad's response. At the resumed hearing, CJP counsel Kamini Jaiswal admitted that two letters were sent to the OHCHR.
Justice Jain told counsel: “We don't appreciate letters being sent to a foreign country, we can't approve of it. Do you mean to say that we can't give witness protection and they will give protection to witnesses? This shows you have more confidence in that organisation than this court. It is a direct interference in our court proceedings. We can't allow interference in our court proceedings. We can't take guidance from such organisations.”
When Ms. Jaiswal explained that the letters were sent only by way of intimation, Justice Jain said: “Intimation has to be with some purpose. If you send such letters in future, then we will hear the amicus curiae and pass orders without hearing you. All these cases are being monitored by us; we don't like any correspondence of her [Ms. Setalvad] with foreign agencies.”
However, after Ms. Jaiswal assured the court that Ms. Setalvad would not send any more letter to the OHCHR, the Bench passed an order treating the issue as closed.
Mr. Salve submitted the status report, dated January 18, given by SIT Chairman R.K. Raghavan on the nine cases, in which trial is going on.
When Mr. Salve said one of the judges who had nearly completed examination of 194 witnesses in the Naroda Patiya case was transferred, the Bench permitted Mr. Raghavan to make a request before the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court for re-transferring the judge to the same court.
The Bench took on record amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran's observations on the SIT's final report on the investigation conducted on Zakia Jaffrey's complaint that Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 62 others had orchestrated the riots.
After furnishing a copy of the report to the SIT Chairman, the Bench posted further hearing to March 3 for considering this report.