`Gujarat has to appoint public prosecutor for Best Bakery case retrial'

MUMBAI, JUNE 1. It is up to the Gujarat Government to appoint a public prosecutor for the Best Bakery retrial which has been transferred to Mumbai by the Supreme Court, according to the Maharashtra Law Minister, Govindrao Adik.

Mr. Adik told The Hindu that the Gujarat police were still investigating the case and therefore the Gujarat Government has to appoint the public prosecutor.

"We are only providing the facilities for the case to be retried — the Gujarat Government is still the whole and soul of the case and it has to take this decision," he added.

However, Mihir Desai, the advocate who is representing Zaheera Sheikh in the case in the Supreme Court, said that ideally, Maharashtra should appoint the public prosecutor but the apex court's order was vague on the issue of who should do so.

"The Supreme Court order directs the State Government to appoint another public prosecutor and it shall be open to the affected persons to suggest any name which may also be taken into account in the decision to so appoint " said Mr Desai. The Court, however, did not specify which State Government, Mr. Desai noted.

The order also says: "Though the witnesses or the victims do not have any choice in the normal course to have a say in the matter of appointment of a public prosecutor, in view of the unusual factors noticed in this case, to accord such liberties to the complainant's party would be appropriate."

Mr. Desai said that he would have liked to seek a clarification from the Supreme Court on the issue of appointing the public prosecutor but that may take time as the court was on vacation.

All the records of the case have been sent to Mumbai and the documents which are in Gujarati, are being translated into English. Earlier, in May, the Bombay High Court had appointed Additional Sessions Judge, Sewri Court, Abhay Thipsay, to conduct the retrial of the case.