India

Advocate General to Argue on Modi’s Summoning in April

Tejas Mehta

New Delhi: The hearing on the issue whether or not Gujarat Chief minister Narendra Modi and others should be summoned by a probe panel which is inquiring the 2002 Godhra riots cases, will now be held on April 22 before the First Bench of the Gujarat High Court. Advocate Mukul Sinha of Jan Sangharsh Manch concluded his arguments yesterday, and the advocate general sought time to argue the matter.

While addressing the bench comprising Chief Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya and Justice Aquil Qureshi on it’s various queries, Sinha submitted that the High Court has the jurisdiction to issue directions to the commission of inquiry. The court had earlier raised this query upon both the parties as to whether it can direct a commission of inquiry while exercising the power under Article 226 of the Constitution.

Addressing this issue, Sinha submitted, “The commission of inquiry is a statutory body and is duty bound to inquire upon the reference made to it in accordance with law. He stated that when a grievance is raised, then a court of law can decide and direct the commission in appropriate manner.”

Sinha submitted that questioning Chief Minister Narendra Modi, other ministers and police personnel, was essential and failing to do so would defeat the whole merit of constituting the commission for the purpose of making a public inquiry regarding the 2002 Godhra Carnage and subsequent communal riots triggered across the state.

He submitted that the commission has to enquire as to the adequacy or inadequacy of the administrative measures taken during the incidents of carnage and riots, role and conduct of the Chief Minister and others named in their application, and the role of political leaders in dealing with the situation. He stated that the Chief Minister, being the constitutional head of the state, was the main witness to answer the administrative measures taken. He stated that only Modi, being in power at that time and being the head of the state, can answer certain questions.

Sinha had moved an application before the Justices (retired) Nanavati-Mehta enquiry commission, the panel which is probing 2002 communal riots, to summon Chief Minister and few others and sought to cross examine them over their alleged role in the riots. After the plea was rejected, he has moved the High Court.

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