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Why did ATS arrest Teesta? Is she terrorist? Are cops incompetent?: Top SC lawyer

By Our Representative 
Top Supreme Court advocate Kamini Jaiswal, speaking to the recent Supreme Court order rejecting Zakia Jafri’s petition seeking culpability of Narendra Modi in the 2002 Gujarat riots, has wondered why was the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) sent to arrest well-known human rights activist Teesta Setalvad. Are she a terrorist? Or is the normal police to incompetent?, she asked. Nowhere does the Apex Court order talk of her connection, if any, with terrorist activities, she added.
The arrests took place in the wake of the Supreme Court stating in the order that all those who had the “audacity to question the integrity” and abused “every functionary” who was heading the state during the 2002 riots “need to be in the dock” for keeping the “pot boiling” for 16 long years. It insisted, these persons should be dealt with “in accordance with the law”. A day after the order, Setalvad and Sreekumar, whom the order specifically mentions, were picked up and arrested by ATS and Gujarat police from their residences in Mumbai and Gandhinagar, respectively.
One of those who had appeared along with Prashant Bhushan in the PIL filed by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) in the Supreme Court on the 2G case, and a member of Committee on Judicial Accountability, a group of eminent lawyers seeking accountability of judges, Jaiswal, who was in Ahmedabad, told a gathering consisting of activists, lawyers and academics, said, she has never seen the Supreme Court stoop so low, wondering, “What has happened to our judges?”
Reading out paragraph 88 of the Supreme Court order which led to the FIR and the ATS arrest of Setalvad and Sreekumar, she said, “We knew what was to come from the Zakia Jafri’s petition. It was all right, had it only been rejected. However, the critical remarks on Teesta Setelvad and others, who fought for justice of the riot victims, are shocking.”
Jaiswal said, “No notice was given to Setalvad and Sreekumar. What has happened is unheard of, needs to be condemned. They were not even asked to present their case. Where will they go? Are they safe in Gujarat? It’s a plain and simple murder of the entire system.” She added, “The Supreme Court has opened a new chapter in castigating those who fought for justice.”
Commenting on the Supreme Court observation that Zakia Jafri – the aged widow of the Congress leader Ehsan Jafri, who was slain on February 28, 2002, the day on which the riots broke out – was being “tutored” by Setalvad, Jaiswal said, “Does she not have the right to fight? The judgment demoralises a widow’s right to justice.” She added, “With this judgment, Zakia Jafri’s legal options have been buried.”
Zakia Jafri
Jaiswal regretted, the Supreme Court, even as banking on the SIT report, did not take into cognizance either the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) report or the Apex Court-appointed amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran’s observation on the culpability of state authorities. “The NHRC report has been removed from its website”, she said, even as quoting from what Ramachandran had said about a “prima facie case” against those in power.
Asked what are the options before Setlavad and others, against whom FIR has been filed, Jaiswal said, “Which court will have guts to grant bail to them? Of course, the FIR will be challenged, and the matter will go to a higher bench, but it will take a month. Here, there is violation of the fundamental right, of Article 32”, she asserted.
Insisting it was a hopeless situation, she said the only option is for “people to rise”, which is a “tall order.” Asked about the Congress view in the matter, she regretted, “The Congress has no stand”. Asked whether international pressure could work, she said, “Already there is international reaction”, but added, as for top state actors across the world, they are happy to deal with the Government of India and appear least concerned. She also rejected the suggestion that the matter could be taken to the International Court of Justice.

Comments

Madan Kandal said…
Can't a review or Curative petition as a PIL be filed by our senior lawyers or anyone because this judgement has far reaching implications?
Even Justice Madan Lokour has spoken strongly against the judgement.

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