New Delhi: In 2006, former Supreme Court judge U.C. Banerjee had submitted a probe report that ruled out any foul play in the February 2002 Sabarmati Express fire in Godhra, Gujarat, which left 58 karsevaks returning from Ayodhya dead and several injured.
Fourteen years later, the Narendra Modi-led central government is refusing to process the recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium to elevate Justice Banerjee’s son Amitesh Banerjee to the Calcutta High Court bench, ThePrint has learnt.
However, Banerjee’s isn’t the only name on hold — the government has not processed the names of four other lawyers cleared by the SC collegium on 24 July 2019.
Sources in the Supreme Court told ThePrint that there has been no official communication from the Modi government so far on whether it intends to process the names.
The Banerjee Commission report
In the aftermath of the Godhra incident, after which large-scale rioting took place in Gujarat, the state government then headed by Modi set up a commission under former Gujarat High Court judge K.G. Shah. However, after an uproar over the choice of judge, the government brought in former Supreme Court judge G.T. Nanavati.
In its first report, the Nanavati-Shah Commission concluded that fuel was thrown inside the coach carrying karsevaks, and then the train was attacked by a mob of Muslims. The report also exonerated the state government. But its findings attracted a lot of criticism from activists and leaders of parties opposing the BJP.