Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Guilty, until proven innocent - A note on Mayaben Kodnani's conviction in Gujarat Riots (Part 1)

Guilty, until proven innocent - A note on Mayaben Kodnani's conviction in Gujarat Riots (Part 1)

Ratings: (0)|Views: 133|Likes:
Published by dharma next
Guilty, until proven innocent - A note on Mayaben Kodnani's conviction in Gujarat Riots (Part 1) - Yajur Sharma, Advocate
Guilty, until proven innocent - A note on Mayaben Kodnani's conviction in Gujarat Riots (Part 1) - Yajur Sharma, Advocate

More info:

Published by: dharma next on Jun 19, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

07/12/2014

pdf

text

original

 
1
Guilty, until proven innocent - A note on Mayaben Kodnani's conviction in Gujarat Riots
Yajur Sharma, Advocate
Summary
 The Naroda Patiya riot case involved a matter of national importance and it is a case that had been tremendously debated in media and amongst the public across the nation. It is common observation that in cases where there is a scope for political enmity, media hype and a media induced public opinion against certain public figures, the judgment should be critically analyzed to look for any prejudices or arbitrary reasoning to arrive at a particular conclusion. I have analyzed the reasoning, evidence and inferences drawn in respect of Smt. Mayaben Kodnani (MK) who had been sentenced to 28 years imprisonment by the Hon'ble judge Smt. Yagnik. I make the following observations:
The fundamental principle of criminal law states 'Innocent until proven guilty'. But the principle applied in this case, in respect of MK, seems to be 'Guilty, until proven innocent'. This is clear from the following instances at various portions in the judgment:
 
1. MK's presence at the scene of crime
 The court notes MK's presence at various places on the relevant date: i.) At 8.40 am, MK at the morning session of the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha. (Page 730) ii.) PW-236 (...eye-witness 1) states that he saw MK at the scene of crime at around 8.30 a.m. or 9 a.m. (Pg. 644, Para 7.1)
Comment:
 Inspite of the fact that MK was at the morning session of the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha at least till 8.40 a.m., the court never raises any doubt as to this witness's deposition and accepts his version describing MK's role in provoking the riots. iii.) Again PW-156 (...eye-witness 2) who was residing at Jawan Nagar (colony next to muslim chawls opposite Nurani Masjid) from 1972: he says that he saw MK at around 9 a.m. (Pg. 654, 655)
 
2
iv.) The court acknowledges that 9 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. is the estimated time around which MK was seen by the witnesses at the scene of crime (Page 728) v.) Court opines that the depositions of the eleven witnesses proves that MK was present at the site somewhere between 9.00 to 9.30 am and that she was again seen at the site somewhere around 11 to 12 noon. (Page 729) vi.) The court further opines that it is not clear that after the completion of assembly at 8.40 a.m. where MK was? (Page 729) vii.) The I.O. admits that one Amrish Govindbhai Patel has stated in his statement before Mr. Mal (I.O. of Naroda Gam case) that A-37 was at legislative assembly upto 9 am and upto 12.30 pm she was at Civil Hospital and from 3.30 pm again also she was at civil hospital. The court opines that the same is statement before the P.O. and is not testimony before this court. (Page 730-731) The court rejects similar statements made by certain other witnesses on the ground that statements before the police do not have credibility, as the statements made on oath before the court where the opposite sides has been given a chance to cross-examine the witness. viii.) Two witnesses in a trial for another riot in Naroda Gam before another  judge stated that they saw MK at around 10 or 10.30 am and since the mob has protested against her presence she has gone from that place (Page 733). The court cites section 33 of the evidence act which states that only in cases where the witness is dead, incapable of giving evidence or is kept out by opposing party or his presence cannot be secured without delay or expenses, can the evidence cited in one court be accepted in a subsequent proceeding before another court (Page 733). So the court in absence of any such circumstances rejects the evidence. The court later examines the statement and states that none of the witness was sure when MK arrived and departed; but it is clear that her presence was objected to by the persons present there and had she not been escorted, she would have been attacked there. The court opines that she could not have remained in the hospital for long and in any case not more than '15 minutes'. It asserts that if read along with testimonies of various PWs it can be inferred that she could not have reached Sola hospital before 10.45 to 11 and she would have left from there in maximum of 15 minutes (Page 734).
Comment:
 It appears that the Hon'ble Judge makes an effort to guess the amount of time that MK could have spent at the hospital to fit the timing with testimonies of various PW's that she was at scene of crime again at around 11.15 or so. If carefully perused it appears that the Hon'ble Judge developed a prejudice against the accused MK, and even this bit of
 
3
information (which it earlier stated that it can't consider) is used to somehow point towards the 'pre-conceived guilt' of MK. ix.) To explain the speed at which MK is alleged to have reached the scene of crime at around 9 a.m., which seems pretty unbelievable considering the fact that she was in the morning session of the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha 'at least' till 8.40 a.m., the Hon'ble Judge opines that MK, being V.I.P. must be with her security and for her the traffic also would be cleared. Hence for political personality and leading person like MK, it is not improbable to reach from Gandhinagar to Naroda Patiya, Naroda Patiya to Sola Civil Hospital and return from Sola Civil Hospital to Naroda Patiya. The Hon'ble Judge further opines that Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad are twin cities and that it is hardly at a distance of 30 km from Ahmedabad and therefore, if MK was relieved at 8.40 a.m., it is not difficult for the accused to reach the Naroda Patiya site at around 9 am (Page 742, 743). The court further adds that the witnesses have stated that all the disturbances had started and in fact reached its peak after arrival of MK. (Pg. 1813) x.) At about 2 pm she had telephoned the fire brigade for fire call of some petrol pump at Naroda Patiya, she has taken round at the site of the offense. (Pg. 1889) xi.) The court also relies on the revelation made by Babu Bajrangi in the sting operation that
"Mayaben had arrived at the Patiya at 4 pm" 
. (Page 765) xii.) The court also relies on revelation made by Suresh Chhara in the sting operation that
"..Mayaben was there at the site on the date of occurrence for the whole day up to 8 p.m.." 
 (Page 770)
Comment: The court relies on various witnesses who state that MK was at the scene of crime in the morning and also relies on the revelation made by Babu Bajrangi that MK arrived at 4 pm; and also on Chhara's statement who states that MK was there at the site of occurrence for the whole day upto 8 p.m. Bajrangi was leading the mob since morning and the court has held him to be the prime conspirator. When he states that Mayaben arrived at 4 pm, either the court should not rely on his revelation or discard the evidence of the eyewitnesses who state that MK was there since morning. Further the court has also not pointed out the inconsistency in the revelations made by Bajrangi and Chhara both of whom being the prime accused and leaders of the mob are expected to give a consistent description of MK's alleged time of arrival at the scene of crime.
 From the above points, it seems clear that there is no concrete evidence to establish MK's presence at the scene of the crime at the

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->