The Gujarat High Court Wednesday sought to know whether
the Nanavati Commission plans to summon Chief Minister Narendra Modi
in its probe into the 2002 Godhra train burning and the statewide
communal riots that followed.
Also to be summoned are former state
home minister Gordhan Jhadapia and legislative assembly speaker
Ashok Bhatt among others.
The division bench comprising Chief
Justice S. Mukhopadhyay and Justice Anang Dave directed the state's
advocate general to reply to the court in this regard by Feb 15.
If the advocate general fails to
comply, the court will take a decision in accordance with the law on
the petition filed by the Jan Sangharsh Manch, which has sought that
the chief minister and the others depose before the commission, the
The high court order comes a day after
the Supreme Court asked the Gujarat government to hand over 14
documents related to the riots, including transcripts of three of
Modi's alleged inflammatory speeches after the Godhra train carnage,
to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the apex court.
The high court's directions came on a
petition filed by the Manch, challenging the commission's decision
in November last year against summoning the chief minister for
The Manch, which represents the
victims of the 2002 communal riots, had moved an application in
April 2007 before the Commission demanding that Modi, Jhadapia,
Bhatt, the former health minister, IPS officer R.J. Sawavani and
three officers of the Chief Minister's Office be summoned before it.
The plea remained pending for over two
years before the commission ruled against summoning Modi in
September 2009. On Sep 18, 2008, the Nanavati Commission, comprising
retired high court judges G.T. Nanavati and Akshay Mehta, submitted
the first part of it's report on the Godhra carnage and virtually
gave a clean chit to Modi.
Fifty-nine people were burnt alive
when a violent mob set ablaze two coaches of the Sabarmati Express
at the Godhra railway station on Feb 27, 2002. Many of them were
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists returning after a campaign in
Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.
The gruesome incident led to sectarian
violence in which 1,169 people, a majority of them Muslims, were