| Harish Salve
New Delhi, Dec. 26: Following Gujarat High Court’s dismissal of the state government’s amended petition in the Best Bakery case, the Supreme Court-appointed amicus curiae, Harish Salve, today said the “matter is not closed”.
Describing the high court verdict as “a shame on the system”, Salve said the case would be taken up in the apex court.
The Supreme Court is set to resume hearings on a public interest litigation filed by the National Human Rights Commission on January 30.
Salve has been appointed amicus curiae by Chief Justice of India V.. Khare to assist the Supreme Court with the PIL.
The rights panel petition seeks transfer and retrial in several Gujarat riot cases, including the Best Bakery massacre that took place during the post-Godhra communal riots.
All the 21 accused in the case were first acquitted by a trial court.
The high court today confirmed the acquittal.
The Gujarat government’s amended petition was filed after the Supreme Court upbraided it and the chief justice warned it against filing “any eyewash appeal” so that it could be dismissed by the high court.
“Now the worst fear is confirmed,” said Salve, who is also a former solicitor-general.
Additional solicitor-general Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for the Gujarat government, said “we will first study” the high court judgment and then “decide whether an appeal should be filed against it in the Supreme Court”.
Rohtagi, however, added that any party “aggrieved” by the verdict could appeal before the apex court.
Salve pointed out that the Supreme Court “has not yet closed the case” and when the matter would be taken up for further hearings, the point about the state government filing an eyewash appeal and getting it dismissed in the high court “would be argued”.
“We have to see whether any one else (the state or any other aggrieved party) files an appeal”, he said.
But irrespective of that, “the matter is alive” and would be taken up on January 30, “when the Supreme Court resumes hearings in the matter”, Salve added.
Apart from the human rights commission, a few others have also moved the apex court, alleging that “coercion” of witnesses and putting them under “duress” had forced them to turn hostile before the trial court.
Umesh Singh Gulia, a Supreme Court lawyer, is among the petitioners.