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SC for special courts to try riot cases

The Supreme Court on Monday suggested that riot cases be tried by special fast-track courts to ensure speedy justice, Satya Prakash reports.

delhi Updated: Apr 14, 2009 01:26 IST
Satya Prakash

The Supreme Court on Monday suggested that riot cases be tried by special fast-track courts to ensure speedy justice.

A bench, headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat, suggested this during the hearing of a petition by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the post-Godhra riot cases and transfer of the trial to another state.

The bench indicated that it would ask the Gujarat High Court to designate special fast-track courts in various districts to try the 2002 riot cases. Last year, however, the court rejected the NHRC plea for a CBI probe into the cases and constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT), instead.

As the SIT continued its probe, trial in these cases — including those relating to Godhra, Gulbarg Society, Naroda Patiya, Best Bakery, Baranpura, Machipith, Tarsali, Raghovpura and Pandarwada — remained stayed.

Earlier, the bench asked the state government to appoint a public prosecutor to try the post-Godhra riot cases in consultation with the SIT.

Now, it has sought suggestions from senior advocate and amicus curiae (court’s friend) Harish Salve and senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, representing the Gujarat government, to give their suggestions by Monday on lifting the stay on the trial, appointment of prosecutors and the demand for transfer of the cases outside Gujarat.

It also sought suggestions on protecting witnesses and constituting a body, tentatively headed by a retired high court judge, to monitor the trial of those cases after senior counsel Indira Jaisingh raised it on behalf of a non-government organisation.