The Bombay High Court dismissed a public interest litigation seeking appointment of a Commission of Inquiry to probe afresh the murder of Mahatma Gandhi in January 1948, and the conspiracy behind it.
A bench headed by Justice V M Kanade was of the opinion that it cannot hear a matter that had concluded long ago.
“We are inclined to dismiss the petition…the writ jurisdiction of the high court cannot be exercised in a matter which has concluded long ago. As a long time has lapsed, we cannot go into the issue now,” said the bench.
The judges said they would give a reasoned order later for dismissing the petition.
The petitioner, Dr Pankaj Phadnis, arguing in person, said he had forensic evidence with him to justify a fresh probe into Gandhi’s killing.
He also said that even Supreme Court was hearing the 150-year-old matter pertaining to precious Kohinoor diamond in public interest. On the same ground, the PIL, seeking new Commission to probe Gandhi’s death, should be heard by the HC.
Notably, All India Human Rights and Social Justice Front has filed a petition in the Supreme Court demanding that Kohinoor and other famous antiques, including the ring and sword of Tipu Sultan, should be returned to India by the United Kingdom. The judges rejected the plea of Phadnis and dismissed his petition seeking fresh probe into Gandhi’s murder.
Phadnis, author, researcher and trustee of Abhinav Bharat, Mumbai, had claimed that the then J L Kapur Commission of Inquiry had not been able to unearth the entire conspiracy that culminated in the killing of Gandhi.
According to the prosecutions story, the Father of the Nation was shot at by the assassin with a revolver which had seven compartments of bullets. Gandhi received three bullet injuries while the remaining four bullets were recovered by police from the weapon, says the petition.
However, the PIL alleged that Gandhi had received four bullet wounds on his person on January 30, 1948, when he was shot dead. In this regard, the petitioner has produced several media clippings to show that Gandhi had sustained four bullet injuries.
The petition said that the new Commission of Inquiry should conduct a probe to find out who had fired the fourth shot and to establish whether there was any other assassin besides Nathuram Godse.