Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (File image)

The Supreme Court will on April 13 hear the plea by slain former MP Ehsan Jafri’s wife Zakia Jafri, challenging the SIT’s clean chit to then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Zakia Jafri, submitted before a bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar that the matter could be heard sometime in April, as many lawyers are involved in the Maratha reservation matter.

The top court noted that it will not entertain any request for adjournment on the next date of hearing.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Gujarat government, submitted the case should be heard next week and objected to the plea seeking an adjournment.

Counsel representing the SIT also said the matter should be decided and opposed the letter for adjournment.

After a brief hearing in the matter, the bench also compromising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Krishna Murari scheduled the matter for further hearing on April 13.

In February 2020, the top court had noted that the matter has been already adjourned many times and it will have to hear someday and scheduled it for hearing on April 14.

Counsel for Jafri had then submitted that matter is contentious and sought an adjournment. The court replied that it had already been adjourned so many times, and it has to come up for hearing someday.

Zakia Jafri’s counsel had earlier told the court that it should issue notice on the plea, as the matter is connected with alleged conspiracy from February 27, 2002 to May 2002.

A total of 68 people, including Ehsan Jafri, were killed at Gulberg Society on February 28, 2002, in wake of the riots triggered in wake of the burning of S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra killing 59 people.

The SIT in February 2012 filed a closure report giving a clean chit to Modi and 63 others, which included senior officials in the government, citing that no concrete evidence was found.

Zakia Jafri then moved to the top court in 2018, challenging the October 2017 Gujarat High Court order rejecting her plea against the SIT decision.

She had argued that her protest petition, filed challenging the SIT closure report, was dismissed without examining the merit in her contentions.

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