The Gujarat High Court on Monday asked the G.T. Nanavati-Akshay Mehta judicial inquiry commission to make its stand clear by April 1 on summoning Chief Minister Narendra Modi before the commission for cross-examination.

A division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhyaya and Justice Akil Qureshi asked State Advocate-General Kamal Trivedi, who appeared on behalf of the commission, to find out from the commission and report back by April 1 whether its earlier “order” not to summon Mr. Modi was the “final order or only a tentative one.”

‘Delaying tactics'

The court issued the order after Mukul Sinha — advocate for the Jansangharsh Manch, which filed the petition in the High Court pleading for a directive to the commission to summon Mr. Modi — pointed out that the Gujarat government was adopting “delaying tactics” by taking advantage of a dichotomy in the commission's earlier order that it was still “assessing the evidences” and that there was “no justification” in summoning Mr Modi.

The next hearing on the petition has been fixed for April 1.

The Manch filed the petition after the Nanavati-Mehta commission — which was probing the Godhra train carnage and post-Godhra communal riots in the State — did not respond to its earlier plea for summoning Mr. Modi and seven of the then top political leaders, bureaucrats and police officers for cross examination, and had instead issued notice to only three personal secretaries of Mr. Modi to file affidavits about having talked to some of the riots accused and police officers during the peak period of the riots.

The three personal secretaries have since filed their affidavits, but there was no mention of Mr. Modi having spoken to the riots accused or any other controversial issues.