NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a PIL seeking the quashing of criminal prosecution, suspension and other action against Gujarat cops in the 2004 alleged fake encounter killing of Ishrat Jahan, in view of the recent testimony of jailed LeT operative David Headley. A Bench of Justices P C Ghose and Amitava Roy said, “What is the purpose of Article 32? You cannot file such a case under it. If you wish, you can go to the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution.”
However, the Bench clarified that it was not dismissing the petition on its merits when Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought a clarification on this issue. “Any person having locus can approach the appropriate authority,” the Bench said paving way for the affected Gujarat policemen, including then DIG D G Vanzara to move the court for their exoneration in the politically sensitive case. The plea seeking quashing of action taken against Gujarat cops refers to the statement of Headley, the Pakistani-American terrorist, recorded before a Mumbai court that Jahan was an Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operative.
The petition cited statements recorded by Headley, who allegedly conspired with the LeT in plotting the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, saying the facts were now undisputed that all four persons killed by the Gujarat Police, including Ishrat Jahan, were terrorists. The plea had also sought a direction to close criminal proceedings and action taken in FIRs lodged by CBI against Gujarat Police personnel and others, saying they were unconstitutional within judicial facts and evidence of Headley.
It had also sought a direction from the court declaring that killing of a terrorist was not an offence and that compensation be paid to the police personnel.
It also wanted initiation of suo motu perjury/contempt proceedings against the then Home Minister and CBI Director for concealing facts before the SC and the Gujarat HC and for filing a false affidavit pertaining to the case.