The Gujarat High Court here was petitioned Wednesday to transfer the 2002 Gulbarg Society massacre case, which left 69 people dead during the Gujarat riots, the affected families alleging a bias on the part of the special judge.
The petition by witnesses and riot victims comes after their plea filed before the principal sessions judge G.B. Shah for the transfer was dismissed on the premise that the special court was appointed by the Gujarat High Court.
The petitioners contend that the behaviour of special judge B.U Joshi during trial had led to erosion of faith in him and in the circumstances the case should be transferred to some other court.
They allege that after two witnesses — Imtiyaz Khan Pathan and Rupa Dara Modi — deposed, the
judge disallowed further witnesses from stepping out of the witness box to identify the accused at the back of the courtroom, and overruled the objections raised by the witnesses through their advocates.
The special court was set up by the Gujarat High Court under directions of the Supreme Court for the trial of nine serious incidents of killings during the 2002 communal riots.
The 69 people who died in the Gulbarg Society massacre also included former Congress MP Ehsaan Jaffri.
The petition in the high court also comes a day after the special public prosecutor R.K. Shah and assistant public prosecutor Naina Bhatt sent in their resignations from the case to the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing it.