High Court dismisses PIL against extension of Nanavati Commission
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The Gujarat High Court on Thursday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) that challenged the latest extension given to Nanavati Commission that is probing into the 2002 Godhra and post-Godhra riots in Gujarat. A division bench of the HC consisting of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala observed that the petition was devoid of any substance and that the delay in submitting report is not unreasonable.
The PIL was moved by one Jignesh Goswami challenging the state government's decision to grant extension to Nanavati Commission till December 31, 2012. The petitioner had contended that even after 10 years and expenses of huge public amount, the Commission had not been able to submit its final report which is nothing but waste of public money.
The petitioner also sought that the commission be directed to submit its final report within a time frame and state government should not grant any further extension to it.
Dismissing the PIL, the court observed that the issue does not fall under the province of the HC under the provisions of Article 226 of Constitution of India. The court observed that the government has got powers to appoint the Commission and it was not mandatory for it to even act upon the recommendations of the same.
The court considered the government's contentions that the Commission had to probe through mammoth records related to the 2002 Godhra and post-Godhra riots cases.
According to a state government affidavit before the court, the Commission has received 47,321 affidavits/applications/information , heard seven parties, examined 1,035 witnesses and conducted 281 public hearings in 22 districts of Gujarat. It also stated that the Commission is inquiring into 6,294 criminal cases registered across the state after Godhra Train Carnage and during the 2002 communal riots.
Discussing the same, the HC observed that in such a scenario, the delay in submitting the final report could not be called "unreasonable". The court remarked that the delay in submission of the final report and its latest extension did not infringe any fundamental right of the petitioner.
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