Metropolitan Magistrate M.S. Bhatt on Monday reserved order till February 15 on handing over copies of the report of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), which probed complaints against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 62 others in the 2002 riots, to the parties in the case.
The SIT opposed sharing the report with anyone else other than the original complainant, Zakia Jafri.
General secretary of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) Teesta Setalvad; Jan Sangharsh Manch, a voluntary organisation helping the riot victims; and some other organisations had filed applications in the magisterial court demanding copies of the report, submitted by the SIT before the court in a sealed cover last week.
Their advocates said the SIT had violated the Supreme Court order by not filing the full report before the magisterial court as directed by the apex court. It submitted only a few pages of abstracts of its report filed in the Supreme Court, they alleged.
The SIT told the court that it would need some more time to submit the voluminous full report running into thousands of pages with annexure and promised to submit the full report by March 8.
Considering that the report would be very sensitive in nature, the SIT also questioned whether the court would have adequate security arrangements to protect the documents.
The SIT opposed the applications of Ms. Setalvad and other activists, saying some of them had no locus standi to be given a copy of the report.
SIT lawyer R.S. Jambuar said the report was not a public document to be shared with all. Once the court signed the report and decided to close the complaint, copies could be given only to the “original complainant” (Ms. Jafri), as per the Supreme Court order.
He said the documents were crucial and must be kept under tight security. The SIT, in its report, had also dealt with the report submitted by Supreme Court's amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran, who was asked by the apex court earlier to independently assess the SIT report.
Contesting the SIT's claim, CJP advocate I.M. Munshi said the question of locus standi did not arise at this stage and since the report was submitted in the court, it had become a public document and should be shared with all parties in the case.
“SIT has no say in this”
Manch advocate Shamshad Pathan contended that the SIT could not have any say in the matter and only the magisterial court could decide whether copies should be given to the parties.