In a blow to the Maharashtra government, the Supreme Court on Friday rejected its petition and directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to continue with its probe into the Hari Masjid police firing on Jan 10, 1993, in which six people were killed.
The police firing was to quell a violent mob at Hari Masjid area of Mumbai, one of the incidents of communal violence that took place in many parts of the country including Mumbai in the aftermath of the 1992 demolition of Babri mosque in Ayodhya.
‘We are unable to accept the change of decision by Maharashtra government,’ said the apex court bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Anil R. Dave in their judgment.
The court made this observation in the wake of the Maharashtra government first agreeing before the Bombay High Court for a CBI probe into the police firing within the precincts of Hari Masjid, that resulted in the death of six people, and subsequently moving the Supreme Court challenging the same order.
Upholding the Bombay High Court verdict directing investigation by the CBI, the judgment said, ‘Taking note of the fact that the incident related to 1993 and also of the fact that the CBI has already examined several persons, we direct the CBI to continue and complete the investigation into the incident and file a final report to the court concerned within a period of six months.’
The judgment said that in order to protect ‘civil liberties, fundamental rights and more particularly Article 21’ the apex court and the high courts could very well order investigation by the CBI. However, the court said that this power to order CBI probe must be exercised ‘sparingly, cautiously and in exceptional situations’.
The high court ordered the CBI probe on the petition by Farook Mohammed Ksasim Mapkar who had contented that the state police had completely failed to investigate the case. The SIT that was set to investigate the case too did not move much in the matter.
In the instant case, one Sub-Inspector Nikhil Kapse fired at Hari Masjid on Jan 10, 1993, allegedly to control a violent mob. The firing resulted in the death of six people. Farook Mohammed Ksasim Mapkar too was hit by a bullet in the firing.