-Report by Ishika Sehgal
On Friday, the Supreme Court rejected Zakia Jafri’s appeal, which questioned the clean chit of Special Investigation Team’s (SIT) given to the then-Chief Minister, Narendra Modi and numerous other individuals in the 2002 Gujarat riots. Zakia Jafri is the widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri. However, it was held that the appeal is without substance, according to a bench led by Justices AM Khanwilkar.
Zakia’s husband, Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, was brutally murdered in the Gulberg Society massacre during the Gujarat riots in 2002. According to her when Mr Modi was Gujarat’s chief minister at the time, he was charged with not doing enough to put an end to the anti- Muslim riots—a charge he has consistently refuted. Zakia was forced to go to the Gujarat High Court to request that the complaint be regarded as a FIR because the State police did
nothing. However, the petition was dismissed by high court.
This was challenged before the supreme court and subsequently an impartial Special Investigation Team (SIT) was appointed by the Supreme Court in 2008 to check this matter. No evidence was discovered against Mr.
Modi in the riots case, according to the report that investigators provided in 2012. Zakia Jafri’s challenged SIT’s clean chit given to 64 people including Narendra Modi before the supreme court.
It was argued that the SIT did not thoroughly investigate all the pieces of evidence that pointed to a bigger conspiracy. Senior counsel Kapil Sibal led the arguments for Zakia Jafri against the Gujarat High Court’s ruling for a number of days.
The SIT had contested Jafri’s argument, claiming that the complaint was part of a diabolical scheme to look into the “bigger conspiracy” that led to the riots in Gujarat in 2002 and that Teesta Setalvad, a social activist, had allegedly directed Jafri’s initial complaint in an effort to stir up trouble.
SUPREME COURT DECISION
Supreme stated that in relation to the events that occurred in Gulberg Society on February 28, 2002, including the attack on Ehsan Jafri, a FIR was filed on June 8, 2006. Therefore, the SIT’s task with regard to Zakia’s complaint was to investigate the claims that were not already the subject of an investigation in connection with the four crimes involving the Gulberg Society case. SIT’s reach was therefore restricted to the allegation of larger criminal conspiracy at the highest level resulting in mass violence across the State during the relevant period.
The court further observed that the allegation of larger conspiracy was based on the ‘sensational revelation”, which were later established to be false by the SIT. According to Mr. Sibal’s argument, the dead bodies were paraded to Ahmedabad after the post mortem was conducted in an open yard at the railway station. The court held that full procedure was followed by state administration regarding the dead bodies and the contention was dismissed.
The Bench determined that the appellant’s claim that only one community was being targeted also lacked evidence. Therefore, the court held that Conspiracy cannot be readily inferred merely on the basis of the inaction or failure of the State administration.
ARTICLE 356 OF INDIAN CONSTITUTION ;Article 356 deals with breakdown of constitutional machinery. The court in this case observed that misgovernance or failure to maintain law and order for a brief period of time shall not come under article 356.
SECTION 120B OF INDIAN PENAL CODE; This section deals with criminal conspiracy and with regard to this case the court observed that in order to prove a larger conspiracy, prior meeting of minds must be proved in the court of law.