The Gujarat government has informed the state High Court that it would be tabling Part-II of the Justice Nanavati and Mehta Commission report on the inquiry into the 2002 Gujarat riots, submitted to the state government on November 18, 2014, in next budget session in the Legislative Assembly.
Responding to a public interest litigation filed in the High Court by former Gujarat DGP RB Sreekumar seeking directions to the state government for making public the report, advocate general Kamal Trivedi stated, “While categorically denying all the averments and allegations contained in the writ petition, it is stated that… it has already been decided to table Part-II of the said report in the ensuing budget session of the legislative assembly.”
Senior advocate Suhail Tirmizhi represented Sreekumar in the High Court. The next budget session is expected to take place in February next year.
Calling it a major victory, Sreekumar told Counterview, “Since the state government did not place the report in the State Assembly within six months of the submission, I made a detailed representation to the Gujarat chief minister on November 18 2015. Since there was no response, I submitted a PIL to the High Court of Gujarat, praying seeking directions to the State Govt. for tabling the Nanavati Commission final report on August 30, 2019.”
The petition said that the commission has already been disbanded as it has served its purpose and therefore “it is the sole responsibility” of the state government “to put the entire report before the State’s Assembly”, adding, tabling “one part of the report and making it public is not merely detrimental to the public interest as outlined in the Commission of Inquiry’s Act but also amounts to splitting the terms of reference of the state government, into two.”
In his letter to then chief minister Anandiben Patel in 2015, Sreekumar, citing “political, administrative and ethical grounds” for “immediate disclosure of the commission report”, said “during the protracted communal clashes in the state in 2002 most gruesome mass killings and destruction of property including demolition of historic religio-cultural monuments of the 15th Century, was reported from 11 police administrative units out of 30.”
He added, by placing the report in the state assembly, the “government can render ineffective widely articulated criticism that the government is jittery about encountering many conclusions of the commission, speculatingly critical of many persons at the top echelons of the Central and State governments.” He cites reputed historian Ramachandra Guha’s book “India After Gandhi” which characterizes 1984 Delhi and 2002 Gujarat riots as pogroms (organized massacre).