Special Correspondent

State Government’s petition in High Court says it should be scrapped

‘Metropolitan Judge had exceeded his jurisdiction in making critical references’

High Court had rejected the plea for a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat government’s petition in the High Court against the Ahmedabad Metropolitan Magistrate S.P. Tamang’s report on the Ishrat Jehan encounter said it should be scrapped as it was “illegal and doubtful.”

Seeking a stay, the government claimed that Mr. Tamang had no authority to make “critical remarks” about the encounter killing, and under Section 176 of the Criminal Procedure Code, he should have confined himself to establishing whether the death was “natural or unnatural.”

It said the Metropolitan Judge had exceeded his jurisdiction in making critical references about the encounter.

Investigation

By completing the investigation and submitting the 243-page handwritten report within 25 days and that too, without the permission of the High Court, he had created doubts about its accuracy, the petition said.

A Division Bench, comprising Justices Kalpesh Jhaveri and Z.K. Sayed heard the plea.

Justice Jhaveri, who is also hearing petitions filed by Ishrat’s mother Shamima Bano Kausar and Javed Sheikh’s father Gopinath Pillai, had ordered constitution of the SIT team headed by Additional Director General of Police Pramod Kumar to probe the encounter.

He said the government petition would be taken up for further hearing along with the pleas of Ms. Kausar and Mr. Pillai.

The High Court had rejected their pleas for a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry but granted a fresh probe by the SIT.

Superintendent of Police in the State Anti-Terrorism Squad G.L. Singhal, who was with the City Crime Branch at the time of the encounter and is one of the accused in Mr. Tamang’s report, also filed a petition demanding a stay. However, he withdrew his plea after the State filed one.

The Division Bench took strong exception to Mr. Tamang launching his inquiry into the Ishrat encounter the same day when the High Court ordered constitution of the SIT. Incidentally, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate had sent Mr. Tamang a letter on August 12 to inquire into the matter and submit his report at the earliest.

The High Court also faulted Mr. Tamang for submitting his report to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate and subsequently allowing it to be made public without its permission.

Court proceedings

Legal experts said though the report had become public, the stay would take away the rights of any individual or organisation to file police complaints or initiate court proceedings against the accused police officials or others.