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Jheeram Ghati Naxal attack: Supreme Court dismisses Chhattisgarh govt plea to hear more witnesses

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New Delhi (ILNS): The Supreme Court today dismisses a plea by the Chhattisgarh government against the refusal of the Judicial Commission to examine additional witnesses for the 2013 Jheeram Ghati Naxal attack case. In the attack 29 people, including leaders of the state’s INC were killed.

The bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and M. R. Shah was hearing the matter through video conferencing. 

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi told t he bench that the incident took place in May 2013 after which a special judicial commission was constituted. Till then 67 witnesses had been examined.

“A new government was formed in December 2018 and additional term of reference was given, but for seven months nothing was done, no additional witnesses were examined,” Singhvi said. “In October last year two witnesses were examined, but the six witnesses who were sought by officer in-charge or state were not examined.”

He pointed out: “The Director of Jungle Warfare was not examined.”

Justice Ashok Bhushan said: “But the commission has said in September that it will not examine any new witnesses after October 1, 2019.”

Singhvi said: “The state filed an affidavit on September 30.”

He also complained that the commission is not allowing witnesses to file an affidavit. “Can a commission do this?” he asked.

The court said: “The commission said those who wanted to be examined should file an affidavit, but no one did.”

Singhvi said: “This is such an important incident, why cannot they examine five witnesses? This is not something cast in stone.”

The court repeated that the commission had stated that those who wanted to be examined should file an affidavit, but no one did. “How can they be examined now?”

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Singhvi said: “The state filed the affidavit.”

The court said: “That was not the order of commission.”

Singhvi conceded to that argument. He said: “The court is right that the state filed, but witnesses did not file any affidavit.” 

The court again said: “You wanted the expert witness to be examined, but the commission did not agree. You may have extended the commission’s tenure, but it has closed the proceedings.”

The court dismissed the appeal.

-ILNS

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