The Supreme Court Wednesday censured two special public prosecutors of Gujarat for going public with their allegations that the two special judges trying Gujarat riots cases in Ahmedabad were biased against the victims.
‘We disapprove this. They are degrading the judicial system,’ said a three-judge bench headed by Justice D.K. Jain, reprimanding the two public prosecutors — R.K. Shah and Nigam Shukla — for doubting the fairness of trial court judges.
‘This is no way to behave. Write e-mails and then give interviews to show that you are the best,’ said the bench.
The bench slammed Shukla for his act of questioning the fairness of the trial court judge in his resignation letter, e-mailed to the special probe panel chief R.K. Raghvan.
‘These special prosecutors were handpicked by the state’s chief justice. If they do not want to continue, they can simply withdraw,’ the bench said, ticking them off.
‘In fact, why should they withdraw? They are duty bound to conduct the trial of the cases without raising allegations against the presiding officer,’ said the bench.
‘I am not happy that a 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.
Justice Jain, who was more vocal through the proceeding, apologised for airing his views on the issue but said the approach adopted by the prosecutors was unexpected and uncalled for.
‘I am very sorry. I am airing my views. This is a wrong practice. This is a strange thing that is happening,’ he said.
The court was informed during an earlier hearing that a special public prosecutor engaged for conducting the trial of riot cases had sought to withdraw from the case by making certain allegations against the Special Investigation Team and the trial judge.
Amicus curiae Harish Salve, assisting the court in the matter, also disapproved of the prosecutors’ act of hurling allegations at the trial court judges in their resignation letters.
He said that the prosecutors should have informed the state advocate general if there were any complaints against the judges.
The bench, meanwhile, asked Salve to meet Raghvan May 1 to examine the desirability of removing two police officers — Inspector General of Police Geetha Johri and Deputy Inspector General of Police Shivanand Jha — and reconstituting the probe panel as per a demand made by social activist Teesta Setalvad.
While the court had asked the two officers to disassociate themselves from the probe being conducted by the panel, the probe panel chief has written to the bench seeking review of its order for taking off the two officers from the panel.
The bench also asked the panel to submit its probe report on the Ehsaan Jafri murder case by May 15 and adjourned the slated matter for further hearing on May 6