Apex court asked to drop para cited to arrest activist Teesta Setalvad

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A group of retired civil servants has also issued an announcement urging the apex court to review its Zakia Jafri verdict

A group of retired civil servants has issued a press release urging the Supreme Court to review its Zakia Jafri verdict and withdraw a paragraph that Gujarat police have cited to arrest social activist Teesta Setalvad and former IPS officer R.B. Sreekumar.

The apex court had dismissed Zakia’s plea challenging a special investigation team’s clean chit to then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi over the 2002 riots, and said those that “kept the pot boiling” should be put “in the dock”.

“The court has commence with a doctrine which enjoins the State to arrest and prosecute persons who dare to question the findings of investigating agencies, if the court decides that these findings are beyond reproach…. The directions contained within the order of the court are characterised in words never known to own been used before within the case of judgments delivered by the Supreme Court,” the statement says.

Setalvad has been a critic of the Modi government’s handling of the riots and their aftermath. Then IPS officers Sreekumar and Bhatt had accused Modi of allowing the violence.

Para 88 of the decision says: “At the tip of the day, it appears to us that a coalesced effort of the disgruntled officials of the State of Gujarat alongwith others was to make sensation by making revelations which were false to their own knowledge…. As a matter of fact, all those involved in such abuse of process, must be within the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law.”

The crime branch, Ahmedabad, cited this in its FIR against Setalvad, Sreekumar and Bhatt.

The signatories to the statement include retired members of the IAS, IFS, IPS, Indian Forest Service, Indian Revenue Service, Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Indian communicating, and also the Research and Analysis Service.