The Division Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah Supreme Court on 29th September set off a petition filed by the Chhattisgarh government asking for examination of additional witnesses in the Jheeram Ghati Naxal attack case of 2013.
The Chhattisgarh state government had earlier approached the High Court seeking a direction for a judicial commission to be set up for an investigation on the Jheeram Ghati Naxal attack, to examine the additional witnesses in the case. Although the High Court had dismissed the plea yet asked the State to approach the Supreme Court.
Justice Bhushan strongly stated, “the judicial commission had made it clear that it would not accept more witness statements after October 2019.”
Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, advocated from the petitioner side demanded that the commission can examine five more witnesses.
“This is such an important incident. Why can’t they examine five witnesses? This is not something cast in stone,” said Singhvi.
The Court noted that when the commission invited those who wanted to be examined to file affidavits, no one did so.
“How can they be examined now?” the Bench asked.
While dismissing the appeal, the Court observed,
“You wanted the expert witness to be examined, but commission did not agree. You may have extended the commission’s tenure but it has closed the proceedings.”
Advocate Singhvi earlier told the bench that the commission had rejected the request to record the testimony of six crucial witnesses, and had closed the probe.
Singhvi had briefed the bench that the commission had also refused to summon BK Ponwar, Director of the Jungle Warfare Training School at Kanker, for recording his evidence as an expert.
“No one from the list of six witnesses have been examined by the commission,” Singhvi said, adding that the additional terms of the reference of the commission were issued and accepted in September 2019.
Singhvi had further enquired as to what happened to these additional terms of reference, as the examination of old witnesses continued without the examination of the additional witnesses.