Gulberg Massacre: Tortuous Journey to Justice

Written by Sabrangindia Staff | Published on: June 1, 2016

Timeline: Gulberg Trial

Incident takes place on 28.2.2002. FIR is dated the same day. KG Erda first PI at Meghaninagar Police station files the FIR, he is later arraigned as accused by the SIT in 2009.
Witness Survivors file several Applications under Section 173(8) of the CRPC dated 25.11.2002, 16.4.2003, 18.7.2003 and 4.11.2003 before the Supreme Court of India stays the Major trials on 23.11.2003
A total of 9 charge sheets were filed in this case out of which 3 charge sheets were considered to be defective
Citizens for Justice and Peace(CJP) represents the Witness Survivors case in the Supreme Court. The Amicus Curiae appointed in October 2003 also makes separate representations before the Court. The issue of partisan prosecutors is continually raised by the Supreme Court as is the issue of faulty investigations and threats to the survivors.


Submission by Amicus Curiae Harish Salve (March 20, 2007)

The Supreme Court appointed Amicus Curiae Harish Salve submitted a note on 27th March 2007 on the background of the riot cases as well as on Gulberg Society, Ode, Sardarpura, Naroda Gaon and Naroda Patiya.
With regards to Gulberg, the Amicus Curiae notes that there are three different charge sheets recorded, two against the State of Gujarat and one against individual accused. The Amicus Curiae further notes that there are two primary issues present.
The first one deals with bias in the police and how they either refuse to record allegations against certain people and have done a shoddy job investigating. The second issue refers to the manner in which the accused were granted bail and the conduct of the public prosecutor which created apprehensiveness about whether justice would prevail.
Harish Salve further notes that there are already affidavits on record which address the first issue. There is already an application under section 173(8) of the CRPC before the sessions court, which along with sworn affidavits of Rupabehn Mody and 11 witnesses and survivors, alleges that in police statements of the witnesses the names of the accused were mentioned but these names vanish from investigation records and are not present in the charge sheet.
The Amicus Curae also notes a sworn affidavit mentions an alleged nexus between certain people involved in the violence and police officials. The allegations are that two CDS, which are now with the Nanavati Shah panel, contain records of all phone calls on the first five(worst days) of the riots. The allegations are that one accused, Dr. Jaydeep Patel, was in touch with the other accused as well as senior police officials including the police commissioner. Importantly, the Amicus Curae notes that the allegations need to be investigated by some agency other than those against whom the allegations are directed. Further, if the allegations mentioned above are established, they would place the matter in a completely different light, as to if they are found to be unsubstantiated.

Further details can be found here


CJP submission on appointment of SIT (March 26, 2008)

The Supreme Court noted that the cases of Godhra, Gulberg Society, Naroda Patiya, Naroda Gaon, Sardarpura, Ode, Dipda Darwaza, needed to be re-investigated. The court based its findings on the counsel for both parties and the note of the Amicus Curiae and the judgement held that the considerations that the lack of investigation and the trial had similar charecteristics to the findings of the Best Bakery Case(Zahira Sheikh vs State of Gujarat). In this case, the trial was shifted out of Gujarat due to the hostile atmosphere and inability to decree proper justice. In the current case, the Court recommended a formation of a special investigation team (SIT) on the basis of unprecedented scale and magnitude of offences, nature and status of alleged officers and on an appreciation of ground reality.
In this application, the petitioners ( CJP) had requested that the appointments of officers to the SIT should be of the Survivors choice. This was not granted by the Supreme Court. The list of initially appointed members is below, but the SIT was given full control to appoint officers of varying ranks to its team.