No SC relief for Teesta Setalvad in illegal bodies exhumation case
Social activist Teesta Setalvad on Monday failed to get any relief from the Supreme Court in a case in which she is accused of having a role in the illegal exhumation of bodies of some victims of the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The apex court said it would not be necessary to adjudicate on merits the plea filed by her against the Gujarat High Court order refusing to quash the FIR lodged against her at a police station in Panchmahal district regarding exhumation of the bodies from a graveyard near river Panam.
A bench, comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy, said it would be appropriate for Setalvad to seek the remedy before the trial court where the charge sheet has been filed.
"When charge sheet is there, can't you go and raise all these questions before the trial court," the bench asked senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for Setalvad. "It is not necessary to adjudicate the matter on merits," the bench said while disposing her appeal against the high court order while giving her the liberty to approach the trial court.
Sibal said though the charge sheet has been filed, no offence has been made out against Setalvad in the case.
Earlier, the Gujarat government, in its affidavit, had justified its probe against Setalvad in the case saying she had actually planned and executed the digging of the graves without any permission in 2006.
It had claimed that during the probe in the case, it had emerged that "Teesta Setalvad, the petitioner herein, was the main accused, who actually planned and executed this operation of digging of graves near Pandarwada through her staff." The government had said the other accused have claimed innocence and blamed Setalvad for instigating them to carry out the exhumation, which is a penal offence.
It had said the exhumation of the dead bodies without permission of the competent authorities constituted an offence under sections 192 (fabricating false evidence), 193 (punishment for false evidence, 201 (causing disappearance of evidence), 120-B criminal conspiracy), 295(A) (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings) and 297 (trespassing on burial places) of the IPC.