In a fresh embarassment to the Narendra Modi government, the Supreme Court on Monday stayed all further proceedings in the Gujarat High Court relating to the alleged fake encounter killing of a teenaged girl Ishrat Jahan and three others, on suspicion of being terrorists, by the state police.
A bench of Justices B Sudershan Reddy and Deepak Verma stayed the proceedings on the petition filed by the girl's mother Shamima Kausar questioning the high court's decision to dispose off the case slated on November 30. She had moved an urgent application through counsel Kamini Jaiswal saying it was highly improper on the part of the high court to hear the matter at a time when the apex court had already issued notice to the government on the issue.
The apex court, while staying the proceedings, said it would take up the matter for hearing on Decemeber 7. The Gujarat government had earlier faced an embarassment after a judicial magistrate held the encounter as "fake" and that it was murder in cold blooded. The state government had claimed the deceased had come to Ahmedabad to kill Chief Minister Narendera Modi.
The Supreme Court had on October 6 issued a notice to the Centre and Gujarat government on Kausar's petition challenging the High court order staying the magisterial probe into the killing of Ishrat Jahan by the police in an alleged encounter.
Mumbai-based Ishrat was killed in an alleged encounter with the police, along with Javed Ghulam Sheikh alias Pranesh Kumar Pillai, Amjad Ali alias Rajkumar, Akbar Ali Rana and Jisan Johar Abdul Gani near Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004. However, a magisterial inquiry conducted by judge S P Tamang has said the killing took place in a fake encounter.
Ahmedabad Metropolitan Magistrate S P Tamang's probe report, submitted in September this year, said the four persons who were also suspected to be linked with Pakistan-based terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Tayiba, were killed in cold blood by the police. Tamang, also said the four were not linked to the LeT.
However, on a petition from the Gujarat government, the state high court had stayed the magistrate's report, after which Kausar moved the apex court which, while issuing a notice to the government, had posted the matter for hearing to December 7. Even as the apex court was seized of the matter, the petitioner complained the matter was listed for hearing in the high court on November 30. Following the petition, the apex court stayed all further proceedings in the high court.
In August, the Gujarat High Court had formed a three-member committee, headed by an officer of the rank of additional director general of police, to further investigate the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.