In a setback to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Supreme Court has decided to hear a plea with regard to 22 alleged fake encounters that took place in Gujarat, when he was the Chief Minister of the state. Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has refused to accede to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta’s request that the matter should be posted following the Christmas break of the Supreme Court, and listed the matter for December 12.
Poet-lyricist Javed Akhtar and Human Rights activist Shabna Hashmi filed an application in the Supreme Court through advocate Prashant Bhushan in Aprial and demanded a copy of Justice HS Bedi report. When Tushar Mehta intervened, arguing that the Justice Bedi report on the fake encounters must not be made public, the court asked him to file an affidavit.
The committee headed by Justice Bedi—who had replaced Justice MB Shah—to probe alleged fake encounters, which took place in Gujarat between 2002 and 2007 when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister, was appointed in 2012. The committee submitted its report to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover in March this year.
The committee had look into whether the encounters that included the Ishrat Jahan and Sohrabuddin Sheikh cases, showed a pattern that people from the minority community were targeted as terrorists.
Pertinently, a writ petition was filed by Javed Akhtar, late journalist BG Verghese and Shabnam Hashmi in 2007, seeking a direction for a probe by an independent agency or CBI so that the “truth may come out”. The pleas had claimed that innocent people, particularly from Muslim community, were being targeted as terrorists in Gujarat between 2002 and 2007.