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Gujarat 2002 riots: Supreme Court adjourns Zakia Jafri plea against SIT clean chit to Narendra Modi till October 26

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The Supreme Court has today adjourned its hearing till October 26 in the plea filed by Zakia Ahsan Jafri, the wife of ex-MP Ehsan Jafri, challenging the decision of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) giving a clean chit to Narendra Modi, the then Gujarat Chief Minister, in the 2002 riots case. 

Ehsan Jafri was a former Lok Sabha MP of the Congress who was among the 68 people who died in the Gulbarg Society Massacre during the 2002 Gujarat riots, a day after the Sabarmati Express was burned at Godhra killing 59 people and resulting in the violence in the state.

The matter has been adjourned on several occasions earlier. On the previous hearing on March 16, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, the counsel for Zakia Jafri, sought an adjournment to April 13 since several advocates were occupied with the Maratha reservation case before the Constitution bench, followed by another adjournment.

The bench presided by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice C.T. Ravikumar heard the matter today and granted time till October 26 to the petitioner to file an additional compilation as requested by Sibal. Further, the bench made it clear that no request for further adjournment will be entertained. 

Narendra Modi was the Gujarat CM when arguably the worst communal pogrom in India since the 1984 anti-Sikh riots claimed over 2,000 Muslim lives.

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Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Gujarat Government and Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the SIT, had opposed Sibal’s request for adjournment on the last date and said the case should be heard in the following week.

In February 2012, the SIT had filed a closure report giving a clean chit to Modi and 63 others, including senior government officials, saying there was no prosecutable evidence against them. Zakia Jafri had filed a petition in Supreme Court in 2018, challenging the Gujarat High Court’s October 5, 2017 order rejecting her plea against the SIT decision.

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