A petition alleging bias on the part of the special judge hearing
the 2002 Gulbarg society massacre case of Ahmedabad that left 69
people dead during the 2002 Gujarat riots is slated to come up for
Witnesses and victims of the communal riot massacre, which left
former MP Ehsan Jaffri among others dead, have sought transfer of
the trial from the special court of B.U. Joshi, charging him with
harbouring bias against the victims and witnesses. Pending a
decision, a stay on the proceedings of the case has been sought.
transfer petition was filed in the court of Principal Sessions
Judge, Ahmedabad, G.B. Shah Monday and has been posted for hearing
petitioners have contended that the judge's behaviour during the
trial has led to erosion of faith in him and in the circumstances,
the case should be transferred to some other court.
up by the high court under directions of the Supreme Court for the
trial of nine very serious incidents of killings during the 2002
communal riots, the special court of B.U. Joshi is hearing the
Gulbarg society massacre case.
the transfer petition, the witnesses have alleged that the judge was
showing a "distinct bias" against the riot victims and in favour of
the accused from the time the recording of the testimonies of the
victims and the witnesses was initiated.
was pointed out that after deposition of two major witnesses,
Imtiyaz Khan Pathan and Rupa Dara Modi, other witnesses were
disallowed from stepping out of the witness box to identify the
accused at the back of the courtroom and the objections raised by
the witnesses through their advocates were overruled by the judge.
petition alleges improper and incomplete recording of evidence in
the court. It also pointed out that the judge showed hostile and
aggressive attitude during the proceedings Jan 7-8 by repeatedly
making derisive comments when the application for arraigning more
accused was being heard.
petition further contended that on Jan 18, the judge passed an order
refusing to arraign more accused. The court accepted the arguments
of the witnesses only in connection with a police constable, Rajesh
Jinger, who lived in the same society.
this case too, Jinger, directed to remain present in court Jan 22,
was ordered released on a simple bond without serving a single day
in police custody.
"This denotes a singularly hostile intent of the court towards the
victims and witnesses," the petition summed up.
Vora, counsel for the witnesses, said that though the special judge
was appointed by the high court, the sessions court has the powers
handed down by the high court to intervene if the cause of justice
is being subverted.