As=”spl_lines”>Justice for victims of the post-Godhra riots has become an obsession for certain sections of the society for certain obvious reasons. They have collected crores in the name of the riot-affected and have tasted luxuries.
These elements have successfully kept the issue alive, blatantly ignoring the damage their obsession is causing to the social fabric of Gujarat. They, who have shown little or no concern for the rights of those affected by the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and many other brutal events, are pursuing their agenda in the hope that they would continue to receive large donations from abroad, as well as from some parts of India. They have been successful in maligning Gujarat and almost its entire judicial system.
The gauntlet was picked up recently by a newly set up organisation, Justice On Trial (JOT), formed by Justice S. M. Soni, a retired judge of the Gujarat High Court. The JOT organised a panel discussion on ?Implications of the Supreme Court Order for 2000 or So Cases? on November 21 in Ahmedabad. Besides Justice Soni, Justice D. N. Tevatia, former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Shri Joginder Singh, former CBI Director and Ms. Sandhya Jain, a journalist were on the panel.
Justice S.M. Soni said that the re-opening of 2,000 odd cases was not a considered decision and the Supreme Court had been unduly obsessed with the case. Judicial activism is indeed required, but it can serve the society only if it remains within limits, implying that ?excessive activism on part of the judiciary can do more harm than good,? he added. He accused the NGOs of using misguided witnesses, clearly hinting at the Best Bakery case wherein the star witness, Zaheera Sheikh, who has changed her statement several times.
Referring to media reports claiming that Zaheera Sheikh had lost all credibility and is unreliable, Ms. Sandhya Jain said that whenever the witness'sstatement suits the NGOs, it is credible and when it goes against them, the witness is accused of lying. She came down squarely on the English press for mixing opinion with facts. She demanded that cases transferred to Maharashtra should be reverted to Gujarat, in order to re-establish the dignity and respect of the judicial system of Gujarat.
Justice Tevatia blamed the media in general and the television channels in particular, for having roused passions by repeatedly showing pictures of the burning S-6 coach. In addition, he said the NHRC, as well as the Supreme Court, not only allowed their thinking to be affected by the media, but had also been too impatient to be in the media themselves.
The NGOs championing the cause of the riots-affected people came in for considerable flak from all the three panelists, including Shri Joginder Singh, who pointed out that there were over 12 lakh registered NGOs in the country and little was known about what they actually do. He said there was a need to curb the NGO culture, pointing out that as many as 800 NGOs, operating in the north-eastern parts of the country, had been blacklisted because of their links with terrorists and yet, continued to receive funds. The meeting evoked significant response from a large number of concerned citizens. About 1,000 persons from all walks of life attended the programme. (VSK)