Ministry can't set up probe panel: HC

Gujarat HC has rejected Rly Ministry's plea seeking to vacate stay on tabling Banerjee panel report in Parliament.

india Updated: Mar 20, 2006 16:33 IST

The Gujarat High Court on Monday rejected the Railway Ministry's petition seeking to vacate the stay on tabling in Parliament the UC Banerjee Commission report on the Godhra train burning tragedy of 2002.

A division bench of Justice MS Shah and Justice SG Dave rejected the plea and said the report cannot be tabled in Parliament till the final hearing in the matter is concluded in April.

The commission headed by Justice Banerjee, appointed by the ministry in September 2004, investigated the burning of a coach of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra, about 140 km from here, in which 59 passengers were killed on Feb 27, 2002. The tragedy sparked statewide communal violence that left at least 1,000 dead.

The commission in its final report concluded that the tragedy was accidental and not the result of a conspiracy by a group of Muslims.

The court has stayed the tabling of the report in Parliament following a petition from a survivor's relative.

It has also made a prima facie observation that the ministry had no powers to form such an investigative committee in the first place.

First Published: Mar 20, 2006 12:34 IST