Annoyed by the manner in which Gujarat riots cases have been progressing, the Supreme Court on Friday stayed the trials in 10 major cases and asked the Gujarat government to show cause why these cases should not be transferred to courts outside the state.
The court also asked the Gujarat government why a high-powered committee of retired judges should not be appointed to scrutinise cases where mass acquitals have taken place.
Also see: Complete coverage of Gujarat riots
The order came when SC's amicus curiae, Harish Salve, pointed out the disappointing manner in which trials were proceeding.
The ten cases referred to in the court order are related to the Godhra train carnage, the Naroda Patiya massacre, the Gulbarga massacre, the Sardarpura massacre and the mass killings at Ode when the state was enflame with communal passions.
A bench comprising Justice V N Khare, Justice S B Sinha and Justice A R Lakshmanan said it is the duty of the state
government to take effective steps to prosecute the accused and wondered "how many times does the Gujarat government needed to be lectured" on this.
"If the allegations made are true, it is a serious matter and it is a fit case for transferring the trials outside the state," the bench said.
Salve pointed out how prosecutors linked with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad were appointed by the state government.
An exasperated Chief Justice Khare told Additional Solicitor General Mukul Rohtagi, who appeared for the state government, "We thought probably the Gujarat government is wiser now and that is why we did not take any action till now."
Salve has demanded that a Special Investigation Team be constituted to conduct fresh probes into cases where the complainants feel the real accused have been shielded by the administration.