New Delhi: In a relief to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the Supreme Court on Monday refused to pass any order on his alleged inaction to contain the 2002 Gujarat riots after the Godhra carnage and referred the matter to the concerned Magistrate in Ahmedabad for a decision.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice D K Jain directed the SIT, which is probing the riot cases, to submit its final report before the Magistrate who was asked to decide whether to proceed against Modi and 63 others, which includes senior government officials.

The bench made it clear that there was no need for it to further monitor the riot cases.

The bench also comprising Justices P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam said in case the Magistrate decides to drop proceedings against Modi and others, he has to hear the plea of slain MP Ehsan Jafri's widow Zakia Jafri, who had filed a complaint against the Gujarat Chief Minister.

The court passed the order on a petition by Zakia Jafri alleging that Modi and 62 top government officials deliberately refused to take action to contain the state-wide riots, triggered by the February 27, 2002 Godhra train carnage.

Jafri, who lost her husband Ehsan Jafri, a former Congress MP in Gulberg Housing Society massacre during riots, had told the Apex Court that a proper probe should be carried out by the SIT, headed by former CBI chief R K Raghavan, into her allegations of inaction and various acts of omission and commission by Modi and others after the riots.

The Apex Court had earlier handed over the task of probing the case to SIT which submitted its report in the court.

After the SIT filed its probe report in a sealed cover, the court had also asked senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, who is assisting it as amicus curie, to analyse the SIT probe findings and file a confidential report on it.

Ramachandran subsequently had submitted his report to the court, which passed the order after going through the reports by SIT and Ramachandran and referred the case back to the concerned Ahmedabad Magistrate to decide the further course of action in the case.

Disappointed over SC verdict: Zakia Jafri

Expressing disappointment over the Supreme Court order in the 2002 Gulberg Society riots case, Zakia Jafri, wife of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the disturbance, said the real culprits are still roaming free.

“I still have faith in the Supreme Court, but some things have been missed out," Zakia, whose husband was killed in Gulberg Housing Society massacre, told reporters at her residence in Surat.

"It has been nearly 10 years since the incident. People have been arrested and trial was on against them. However, the real culprits, who were behind the riots are still roaming free," she said.

"I am ready for a long struggle ahead," Zakia said, adding that she would fight for justice till her last breath.

Sixty nine people, including Jafri, were killed in the Gulberg Society riots on February 28, 2002, following the Godhra train burning incident.

More than 60 people are undergoing trial in the case, which was probed by the SC-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT).

Zakia had filed a complaint against Modi and others in the Gulberg Society riots case, based on which, the apex court had asked the SIT to investigate.

Final hearing in the case was on in the special trial court here presided by Judge B J Dhandha.

Verdict victory for Modi: BJP

Claiming it was a 'victory' for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the Supreme Court verdict asking a trial court to hear a petition against him in the killing of former MP Ehsan Jafri in the 2002 riots was a relief for the politician.

“It is not just a relief for Modi, but a victory for Modi,” BJP spokesperson Balbir K. Punj told reporters here.

Punj said Modi will now 'play a much larger role in the national political scene'.

He said at no stage did the party believe Modi was involved in the riots.

Another party spokesperson Prakash Javdekar said leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha and former law minister Arun Jaitley will give a detailed briefing about the verdict soon.

No clean chit to Modi: Congress

The Congress on Monday said it was wrong to say that the Supreme Court has give a clean chit to Narendra Modi in the Gulberg Society riots case even as BJP welcomed the order, saying hate campaigners against the Gujarat Chief Minister will not win.

"It is wrong to say that the Supreme Court has given a clean chit to Modi. The Supreme Court has referred the matter to the lower court for hearing and after a decision by the lower court, the doors of the higher courts are still open for aggrieved persons," Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said.

"Modi's actions during the Gujarat riots are known to all. Then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had himself criticised his functioning during the post-Godhra riots. His record as Chief Minister of the state is a blot," he said.

However, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said the party was happy with the order.

"We are happy with the Supreme Court ruling. We can understand the desperation and unhappiness of Modi-baiters. After this verdict, the hate campaign against Modi has lost. It can never win," he said, adding the Supreme Court has upheld the "due process of law".

"Justice says one cannot manufacture evidence. Now the SIT will present its case to the lower court which will hear the case," Javadekar said.

God is great, tweets Modi

Modi thanked god after the Supreme Court verdict directing a trial court to hear a petition against him in the killing of former MP Ehsan Jafri in the 2002 riots.'God is great,' Modi tweeted on the micro blogging site Twitter.

The apex court order came after a petition filed by Zakia Jafri, the widow of Ehasan Jafri, urging a probe into Modi's role in the Gulberg society carnage and the trial of the case by a special court outside the state.

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj congratulated Modi, saying truth has won.

'Narendrabhai has passed Agnipareeksha today. My heartiest congraulations to him. Satyameva jayate. Varshon baad aaj satya ki vijay hui,' she tweeted.

(JPN/Agencies)