India Intelligence Report

Nanavati Constitutional Row


A Constitutional row is evolving regarding the Gujarat riots and communication between then President K.R. Narayanan and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The former President had alluded to these letters in an interview that cast aspirations on the former Prime Minister and his Government did not do enough to curb the riots. Representing the Government before the Nanavati Commission, the Additional Solicitor General claimed “privileges” of the Constitution and Evidence Act so that the papers no be released. He also cautioned the commission on this line of investigation saying that the contents have to be read in full and the context understood; a failure of this and selective interpretation would seriously affect public interest, leading to communal violence and disharmony. The Government also says that President Narayanan quoted selectively what is considered “state information” implying a breach of privilege. The judges of the commission took umbrage to this position demanding to know whether the Government considered Narayanan “irresponsible.” A confrontational line of questioning resulted in the judges asking the Government to “apply its mind” before claiming privileges. While the contents of these letters is not known, a debate between the former President and Prime Minister over Federalism, rule of law, preserving security of population, and the quality of security offered by the Narendra Modi's Gujarat Government to Muslims were apparently discussed.

Home Page