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A court in Ahmedabad Thursday rejected a petition for transfer of the 2002 Gulbarg Society massacre case, in which 69 people including former Congress MP Ehsan Jaffri were killed, to another court, citing jurisdictional limitations.

A petition against special judge B.U.Joshi, charging him with harbouring a bias against them, was filed by victims and witnesses of the incident before the Ahmedabad sessions court of G.B. Shah Monday.

The court, while dismissing the petition, advised the petitioners to approach the high court which was the appointing authority.

“We propose to do so within the next few days,” said S.M. Vora, counsel for the witnesses.

The petitioners contended that the behaviour of the judge during trial had led to erosion of faith in him and in the circumstances the case should be transferred to some other court.

The petition alleged that after two eyewitnesses — 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.

Counsel for the witnesses argued that though the special judge was appointed by the high court, the sessions court has the powers to intervene if the cause of justice is being subverted.

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.

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