Panel had investigated 21 encounter killings in Gujarat
The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered that a confidential report filed by the Justice H.S. Bedi (retired)Monitoring Committee into 21 police encounters in Gujarat, which had occurred during the time Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the State’s Chief Minister, be shared with petitioners, lyricist Javed Akhtar and those representing the late journalist B.G. Verghese. The decision of the Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, was a setback for the Gujarat government, which urged the court to keep the final report filed by the Supreme Court-appointed committee under wraps. The court also did not accept the State’s plea to bar the petitioners from sharing the report with the media. The Gujarat government will also get a copy.
Filed in 2018
The final and 11th report of the committee was filed in the Supreme Court in February last year and has been kept in a sealed cover with the Supreme Court Registry since then. “This will prejudice the case of the accused as well as the victims,” Gujarat counsel Rajat Nair, who was standing in for Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, protested. Seeks adjournment Mr. Nair initially asked for an adjournment as the Solicitor General was occupied in another court. But the court refused, following which he argued the case.
Responding to Mr. Nair, the CJI asked him for the record: “Who are you?”
To this, Mr. Nair replied, “State of Gujarat.”
“Then look after your own interests,” Justice Gogoi said. The court clarified that it was not “accepting” the conclusions arrived at by Justice Bedi, a retired Supreme Court judge, about the police encounters that had happened during the period between 2003-2006.
“We are not accepting the report. We are only saying it should be shared,” Justice Gogoi said. “It [Justice Bedi’s report] is a 225-page report. We do not know what it says.”