SC stops final order on SIT report

The Supreme Court on Thursday restrained a Gujarat trial court from passing a final order on closure report of the Special Investigation Team in the 2002 Gulberg Housing Society riot case until it has decided a plea by Zakia Jafri, wife of slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri, over making available to her all documents relating to the case.

"The final order on the closure report shall not be pronounced till the disposal of this case here," a Special Bench of Justices D K Jain, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam said.

The court issued notice to the Gujarat government and sought its response on the petition by Zakia, who has contended that she could not file a proper protest petition against the closure report unless she was provided with all the documents relating to the probe by the SIT in the case. Ehsan Jafri was among 69 people killed during riots in the housing society at Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002. She further sought a stay at the proceedings in the trial court, arguing that on November 27 last it had accepted the SIT closure report of March 2012 in the case and it could pronounce the final order any day now.

While issuing notice to the government, the Bench questioned if the state could argue anything in the matter since the SIT was constituted by the court orders and hence its reports were court's properties.

In another related development to the post-Godhra riots of 2002, senior advocate Harish Salve, who has been assisting the court as amicus curiae in nine cases, said he would wish to move an application for relocating key witnesses and for continuing with their security.

On the issue of supplying SIT's reports to Zakia, Salve raised the contention that six trials have been concluded in the related cases and if the apex court now allowed the report to be given to anyone, accused in those cases could also rake up the same issue.

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