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Pota Review Committee Gives Opinion On Godhra Case To POTA Court

21 June, 2005

The opinion of the Prevention of Terrorism Act Review Committee in the Godhra Railway Police Station case has been placed before the POTA Court for appropriate action by the Special Public Prosecutor in keeping with the directions of the Gujarat High Court.

The Home Ministry, in a release here said the action had been taken following orders given by the Gujarat High Court on April 13 while dismissing two Special Civil Applications (SCAs). The POTA Review Committee sent a copy of its opinion in the Godhra Railway Police Station case to the Principal Home Secretary of the Gujarat Government on May 17 with a request that a copy of the opinion be also forwarded to the Public Prosecutor in compliance with the directions given by the Gujarat High Court in the SCAs.

The Court in its order said, "the Review Committee constituted by Notification dated November four last shall forward its opinion to the Public Prosecutor appointed under section 28 of the 2002 Act for being placed before the Special Court and the Public Prosecutor concerned shall then file appropriate applications under Section 321 of the Code without any delay and place before the Special Court the opinion of the Review Committee together with other relevant records for passing appropriate order." The release said the POTA Repeal Act 2004 provides in terms of its section 2(3) that when the Review Committee is of the opinion that there is no prima facie ground for proceeding against the accused in a particular case under POTA, that case shall be deemed to have been withdrawn even if it has been taken cognizance of by the Court.

The Justice Jain POTA Review Committee had reviewed the Godhra Railway Police Station in terms of the POTA Repeal Act 2004 and decided on May 16 that "this incident had taken place on the date, time and place as alleged by the prosecution but certainly not as a part of conspiracy envisaged under the provisions of POTA. This Committee, therefore, is of the view that the accused persons may be tried under the provisions of IPC, Indian Railways Act, Prevention of Damages of Public Property Act, Bombay Police Act etc., but not under the provisions of Prevention of Terrorism Act,(POTA) 2002." The POTA Review Committee further directed that the concerned Public Prosecutor shall file the appropriate application under section 321 of Criminal Procedure Code without any delay and place before the Special POTA Court the opinion of the Review Committee together with other relevant records for passing appropriate order as per the directions given by the Gujarat High Court in Special Civil Application(SCA) Nos 1103/2005 and 1105/2005.

These two SCAs were filed by certain affected persons in the Gujarat High Court challenging the constitutional validity of sub sections 3 and 5 of section 2 of the POTA Repeal Act, 2004. In its interim order dated January 29, the Gujarat High Court stayed the implementation of these provisions which was got vacated through a special leave petition filed by the Home Ministry in the Supreme Court. The Home Ministry then filed counter -affidavits in the SCAs in the Gujarat High Court which gave its order on April 13 after hearing the Additional Solicitor General.

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