New Delhi: A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit has dismissed as “futile” 11 petitions seeking an impartial probe into cases related to the 2002 Gujarat riots.

One of these petitions was filed by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the other by Teesta Setalvad’s organization ‘Citizens for Justice and Peace’.

Meanwhile, another bench has stayed the contempt of court proceedings against the UP government and others in the case related to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992.

A bench headed by Justice S.K. Kaul, while referring to the judgment of the Constitution Bench in November 2019, said that the matter no longer holds any significance.

A bench comprising Chief Justice U U Lalit and Justice Ravindra Bhat and Justice J B Pardiwala, who was hearing the petitions related to fair investigation of cases related to the Gujarat riots, took note of the affidavits of senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the court, and the lawyers appearing for various petitioners, saying there was nothing left to decide in these petitions now.

“Since all these issues have now become infructuous, this court is of the view that it is not required to hear these petitions any further,” the bench said. Therefore, these petitions are now closed because they have no significance. The bench, however, took note of the affidavit filed by the SIT that the Naroda Gaon riots case, which is one of the nine cases probed by the SIT, was in its final stages in the trial court.

Pertinently, another bench of the Supreme Court had recently upheld the clean chit given by the SIT to the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 23 others in the 2002 riots case. As many as 1,044 people lost their lives in these riots.

It said that nearly 30 years in petition filed in demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya have been passed and the petitioner had appealed several times for listing of the matter. Justice Kaul said, “I accept your concern but now nothing is left in this matter. How long will you keep digging the buried dead? The bench said it was sad that the matter was not taken up for consideration.

“We are trying to look into the old cases. Some cases will survive and some will not survive. Now you have the full verdict of a larger bench.”

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