Supreme Court will not take over magistrate's functions

The Supreme Court on Monday decided to end its monitoring of the probe conducted by the Special Investigation Team, headed by R.K. Raghavan, into the complaint by Zakia Jafri, whose husband, Ehsan Jafri, a former Congress MP, was killed in the Gulberg Society carnage in Ahmedabad during the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat.

A three-judge Bench, headed by Justice D.K. Jain, in its order, quoting an earlier decision, said once the investigation was completed, it would be for the court where the charge sheet was filed to deal with all matters relating to the trial, and the monitoring should come to an end.

The Bench quoted another Supreme Court judgment to explain why it was not giving any direction. “Once the court satisfies itself that a proper investigation has been carried out, it will not venture to take over the functions of the magistrate or pass any order which will interfere with his judicial functions.”

After the SIT submitted a report, on the complaint of Ms.Jafri, after examining Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others, the Supreme Court asked amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran to suggest the future course of action. For, it felt that Mr. Raghavan's inferences in the report did not match the SIT findings.

The Bench asked the amicus curiae to analyse the SIT report and make his own independent assessment of the statements of witnesses recorded by the SIT and submit his comments. Mr. Ramachandran disagreed with certain conclusions in the SIT report and gave some suggestions.

On Monday, the Bench disposed of Ms. Jafri's appeal and passed its order on the basis of the amicus curiae's suggestions. It placed on record its deep appreciation of the able assistance rendered by Mr. Ramachandran and his assistant Gaurav Agarwal.

In her complaint, Jafri alleged that there was a conspiracy among Mr. Modi and other Ministers, senior police officers and officials to commit acts — after the Godhra train fire — which would provoke and fan communal violence and also to render the police inactive to abet in the commission of crimes.