SC says it is deviating from main issue in Gujarat riots cases

"We know we are deviating from the real issue," a three-judge bench headed by Justice D K Jain said adding that parties are raising before it one or the other issues  having no relevance to the main matter.

"What is the reason for deviation is known to the parties," the Bench, also comprising Justices P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam, said.

The remarks came when an NGO and some others, opposing the working of the Special Investigating Team (SIT), drew its attention to the Bench about the response filed to the application of SIT Chairman R K Raghavan seeking reinstatement of senior Gujarat cadre IPS officers Shivanand Jha and Geeta Johri who were taken off the panel after the apex court's April 6 order.

"Did we pass any order on the request of SIT Chairman? What is the relevance of raising the issue of SIT Chairman seeking retaining of its two members?" the Bench said making it clear that such things have made it to deviate from the main issue.
The Bench was hearing the plea of the NGO Citizen for Justice and Peace and some rights activists who had made allegations against the SIT and sought its reconstitution. Gujarat government has opposed the reconstitution.

It also expressed anguish over the role of a special public prosecutor who wrote a letter to the SIT making allegations against the trial judge. The letter was leaked.
The issue of the letter written by the prosecutor to the SIT was brought up before the Bench by Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, who is assisting as amicus curiae in the matter, on April 6.

The Bench was informed by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who was appearing for Gujarat government, that a letter (by state government) has been written to Subramanium asking him how he came to know about the prosecutor's letter to the SIT.
Rohatgi said the Centre knows about the letters written by the prosecutors but the state government under which they are working is unaware of such developments.
The court was informed during the earlier hearing that a special public prosecutor engaged for the riot cases had sought his withdrawal from the case after levelling certain allegations against the SIT and the trial judge.

The bench disapproved of the action of the prosecutor and made strong remarks against him. "We disapprove of the action of the prosecutor. He is disregarding the judicial system," the bench said.
The bench said it was unhappy with the conduct of the public prosecutor coming out of the court and speaking to the press.

"I am not happy that the public prosecutor comes out of the court and gives interviews to the press. That is to show that I am the best," Justice Jain said.
Referring to the Gujarat riot case in which the Special Public Prosecutor has written a letter to the SIT for withdrawing himself from the case, the bench said "we are surprised by the action of the prosecutor. He is appointed by the Chief Justice of the High Court."
"If every prosecutor starts behaving like this, what will happen?" the bench said.
"I am very sorry. I am airing my views. This is a wrong practice. This is a strange thing that is happening," Justice Jain said.

The bench said such actions are not expected from public prosecutors and it was a very unusual practice.
"Sending e-mails to somebody telling that I am not happy with the judge is not correct", the bench said, adding that in such case, the public prosecutor should rather quit.
The bench posted the matter for hearing on May 6 and granted time to SIT to file its report by May 15.

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