The Supreme Court on Tuesday slammed the Gujarat government for “victimising” social activist Teesta Setalvad and initiating a “spurious case” against her over her alleged role in illegally exhuming the bodies of the 2002 riot victims.
“This is a spurious case to victimise the petitioner. This type of a case does no credit to the state of Gujarat in any way,” said a bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai while hearing Setalvad's appeal challenging the Gujarat High Court order which declined to quash the FIR against her.
A case was lodged against Setalvad at the Panchmahal district police station after she got bodies of post-Godhra riots victims exhumed from a graveyard near Panam river. The Gujarat HC had on May 27 last year declined to give the activist relief from facing prosecution.
The SC, on the other hand, said it wasn’t correct on the Gujarat government’s part to go ahead with the case. “You may be right in other cases. But not in this one,” the bench said.
It asked senior advocate and state counsel Pradeep Ghosh to go through the FIR and advise the government not to proceed with it. The bench said: “You advise your client not to proceed with this type of a case. You should show some responsibility and tell the government not to proceed with the case.”
The bench added that its interim stay — imposed on July 29, 2011 — on criminal proceedings against Setalvad in the case would continue till the next date of hearing.
The Gujarat government justified the registration of the case against her. The state said the activist had planned and executed the digging of graves without any permission in 2006. The government had said the other accused have claimed innocence and had blamed Setalvad for instigating them to carry out the exhumation, which is a penal offence.