PNS | New Delhi
A public interest litigation seeking transfer of Gujarat DGP PC Pandey for his alleged interference with investigation into the Gujarat carnage was brought to an abrupt close in the Supreme Court on Monday.
The court virtually closed the case on Monday pointing out that most of the riot cases were reopened and progress reports filed by the police.
Moreover, it said the DGP was due to retire on March 15 and could not interfere with the case as feared by the petitioner, NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace. But it said the petitioner could approach the court if the police official intervened in an adverse manner.
The Bench of Justices Markandey Katju and VS Sirpurkar, reserving its order for Tuesday observed, "If all cases (2020 to be specific) have been reviewed and reports submitted, then what does this man have to do?"
The petitioner, however, had some reason to cheer during hearing of the case, when one judge broke into an impromptu speech terming the Gujarat carnage a "disgrace" to the country. "We know what terrible things have been done to minorities in Gujarat.
It was a disgrace to our country the way treatment was given to minorities in Gujarat," Justice Katju said. Taking little care to accommodate the views of his companion judge, Justice Katju went to the extent to say not all the accused have been prosecuted in the case.
Realising that the statement from the presiding judge would be regarded as a comment from the Bench, Justice Sirpurkar quickly distanced himself from the outburst, saying, "I do not subscribe to these comments."
Having made his point, Justice Katju gave a piece of his mind to the petitioner, suggesting the judiciary as a matter of policy should not interfere with transfers and promotions fixed by the executive.
Refusing to entertain the petition on this ground alone, he said, "It is not the jurisdiction of judiciary to decide on transfers, promotions... We must draw our lakshmanrekha." Pointing the danger of entertaining such petitions, Justice Katju maintained that such relief, if granted, could cut both ways. "Then the executive should also say that let this person not be made a judge. We must respect each other," he added.
The petitioner represented by senior advocate PP Rao at one point found the volley of comments emerging from the Bench too hard to bear.
He argued on the premise that the Supreme Court recogniszed Pandey's complicity in the riot cases in 2004 and later during the state elections the Election Commission transferred him on order.
He was later reinstated to the DGP post after the Narendra Modi Government returned to power.
The State Government's counsel Hemantika Wahi contended there was no truth in the allegations since during Pandey;s regime, out of 2020 cases, 30 that remained for review were reopened and progress reports are timely filed. When the petitioner suggested that being the top cop, Pandey could influence the trial, the Bench flatly refused to entertain this request stating, "That's too much. You are showing disbelief not only in Pandey, but in the entire judiciary of Gujarat."