Sanjiv Bhatt, PUCL approach HC over access to intelligence documents, again

Seeking access to all intelligence documents pertaining to the 2002 Gujarat riots presented before the Nanavati-Mehta Commission by the Gujarat government, suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt and a civil rights group once again approached the Gujarat High Court on Monday.

This time, Bhatt and the civil rights group, People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), have sought the court's intervention to direct the Commission to give them access to all those documents presented by the government, irrespective of whether they were classified or not.

Following the petition, a division bench of the HC, comprising Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala, posted the matter for further hearing after a fortnight, as an assistant government pleader waived the notice on behalf of the state government.

Earlier, Bhatt and PUCL had moved a public interest litigation (PIL), seeking a direction to the state government to provide certain intelligence documents sought by Bhatt, so that the latter could file an affidavit before the Nanavati-Mehta Commission. The PIL was moved after the state government did not provide Bhatt access to those records. At that time, the then government counsel told media that some of the documents sought by Bhatt had been destroyed.

Advocate General Kamal Trivedi, at the relevant time, told the court that the documents sought by Bhatt had not been destroyed, and in fact had been made available to the Nanavati-Mehta Commission. However, shortly after that, the state government made it clear before the Commission that 9 out of the 47 documents sought by Bhatt had been destroyed in "routine course". A senior IPS officer filed an affidavit in this regard before the Commission.

Subsequently, the state government moved an application, seeking to clarify the statement of the Advocate General contending that it was a bona fide mistake committed due to alleged wrong instructions of an officer present in the court then.

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