Guwahati: In a significant judgment, the Gauhati high court has declared the constitution of the K.N. Saikia Commission, which probed the “secret killings of Ulfa family members” as invalid and quashed its report as well.
Former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta had challenged the constitution of the K.N. Saikia Commission on the ground that when the panel was constituted the J.N. Sarma Commission was still valid. Mr Mahanta had filed a writ petition in the court in 2008.
Mr Mahanta’s lawyer Rajib Baruah said that a single bench of Justice Ujjal Bhuyan disposed off the petition, declaring the KN Saikia Commission as invalid.
“The court observed that the Saikia Commission was illegal as at the time of its constitution the J.N. Sarma Commission was still valid. To discontinue a commission, the government has to pass a resolution in the Assembly, which was not done. Also no gazette notification was issued,” Mr Baruah said.
Within few months of coming to power, the Tarun Gogoi government had set up a judicial inquiry under retired Gauhati high court Justice Meera Sarma into six cases in which 11 persons had been killed. In October 2003, however, Justice Meera Sarma pulled out “on personal grounds”, following which a fresh commission was appointed under another retired high court judge, Justice J.N. Sarma in the same year. The K.N. Saikia Commission was formed in 2005 to probe the same cases.
The government had later asked the Saikia Commission to probe into other cases of “similar nature”.
“But the Commission picked the cases by itself. Legally, the government should decide which cases should be probed and the Commission does not have the power to decide it,” Mr Mahanta’s lawyer said.
The report the K.N. Saikia commission was tabled in the state Assembly in November 2007.
The one-man commission noted in its report that “there is enough evidence to show that the then home minister who was also the chief minister, was at the helm of these extra-constitutional killings.”
The Commission had also observed that there was lurking evidence of police and surrendered Ulfa militants nexus in the “extra-constitutional killings”.
The government had also tabled the preliminary report of the Justice JN Sharma Commission, constituted prior to the setting up of the Saikia Commission.