SC admits plea against Gujarat minister
The Supreme Court has admitted an appeal against the Gujarat government’s Law Minister Ashok Chandu Lal Bhat and BJP MP from the State, Haren Pathak, in a 22-year-old murder case.
A bench headed by Justice S.H. Kapadia said the appeal challenging the Gujarat High Court order discharging the two leaders had substantial merit and it's hearing should be disposed of expeditiously. The appeal was admitted despite vehement protest by the defence counsel. The charges of abetment and conspiracy to murder a police constable were filed against Bhat and Pathak after anti-reservation riots broke out in Ahmedabad in 1985. Interestingly, the complainant in the case was the deputy commissioner of police of Ahmedabad who is now the State police commissioner.
Justice Kapadia's bench also gave liberty to the petitioner’s advocate, senior counsel, Dushyant Dave, to mention the matter before the Chief Justice if it does not come up for an early hearing. The special directions were passed because a matter upon admission normally comes up for hearing after two years.
The appeal filed by a social worker from Gujarat, Prakash Dharmasingh Gurjar, shocked the apex court because the state government has failed to file an appeal against the discharge of the two political leaders who were set free of the charges by the high court in June last year.
According to Prakash, the case against the two leaders was not contested properly by the state because the lawyers defending them have been appointed as special public prosecutors by the state government.
Bhat and Pathak had allegedly instigated a mob to kill the constable in Khadiya area on April 22, 1985.