First, the Supreme Court shifted the Best Bakery case from Baroda to Bombay after all the 21 accused were acquitted. Then it shifted the Bilkis Bano case because the victim and Central Bureau of Investigation were both apprehensive that witnesses may come under pressure. Last month, the Centre asked the SC to transfer the trial in all the major cases in Gujarat outside the State as, among other reasons, “generally the conduct of the police has been such as not to inspire confidence.” Today, the apex court shifted the Prof Harbhajan Singh Sabharwal murder case (the professor was done to death by activists of the BJP’s students’ wing ABVP after he declared a student election null and void) from Ujjain to Nagpur.
Since the government in power in both States are run by the Bharatiya Janata Party, Narendra Modi in Gujarat and Shivraj Singh Chauhan in Madhya Pradesh, the decision to shift the cases, opens up a simple question: What does it say about the process of law and order in BJP ruled that cases have to be shifted so often? Is the phenomenon of bringing pressure on the police, prosecution, and witnesses prevalent only in BJP states or is it there in other States too? Does it become a problem for justice to be served only when the majority community is perceived to be at fault? Has the time come for the BJP to introspect? Or is this just another pseudo-secular ruse to discredit the party?