The Supreme Court bench of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Krishna Murari has said it would not heed any adjournment request on April 13 when it will hear the plea of Zakia Jafri, wife of slain MP Ehsan Jafri. Zakia Jafri has challenged the Special Investigation Team’s clean chit to the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots.
When the proceedings began today, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, the counsel for Zakia Jafri, sought an adjournment to April since several advocates were occupied with the Maratha reservation case before the Constitution bench.
Appearing fro the Gujarat Government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta opposed Sibal’s request for adjournment and said the case should be heard next week.
Like Mehta, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the SIT, said the matter should be decided and opposed the adjournment request.
In February 2020, the Supreme Court had fixed the case for hearing on April 14 saying the matter had been adjourned many times and will have to be heard some day. Earlier, Jafri’s counsel had told the Supreme Court that a notice needs to be issued in the plea as it relates to an alleged “larger conspiracy” from February 27, 2002 to May 2002.
Ehsan Jafri, a former Member of Parliament, was among the 68 killed at Ahmedabad’s Gulberg Society on February 28, 2002, a day after the Sabarmati Express was burned at Godhra killing 59 people and resulting in riots in the state.
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 the Apex Court in 2018, challenging the Gujarat High Court’s October 5, 2017 order rejecting her plea against the decision of the SIT.