G. T. Nanavati

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Girish Thakorlal Nanavati
Born (1935-02-17) 17 February 1935 (age 79)
Jambusar, Gujarat
Occupation Retired judge

Girish Thakorlal Nanavati (born 17 February 1935 in Jambusar, Gujarat) is a retired judge from the Supreme Court of India. After his retirement he has headed two commissions inquiring into the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots and the Godhra riots.

Early life[edit]

Judge Nanavati is the eldest of twelve children born to a family of professionals. In his family, his father, grandfather and uncle were all lawyers. Judge Nanavati studied at St. Xaviers College in Mumbai. After finishing his education in the arts, he enrolled in the Government Law College in Mumbai to receive his bachelors and masters degrees in law.[1]


Mr. G.T. Nanavati enrolled as an advocate in the Bombay High Court in 1958. Circumstances forced him to return to Gujarat from Mumbai when the bifurcation of the Bombay state in 1960 left him a hard choice. His wish to practice at the prestigious Bombay High Court went unfulfilled and left for Ahmedabad.

His practice in Ahmedabad was very low key. He dealt with a smattering of revenue cases, but his true potential was realized when he began to practice criminal cases. He received and accepted an offer to become a public prosecutor in 1964, which became a turning point in the young man's career. At that time, high court judges, not the government, appointed prosecutors. This began a fifteen-year stint prosecuting cases before the high court.

He was appointed a permanent judge to the Gujarat High Court in 1979. Fourteen years later he was transferred to the high court in Orissa. A year later, in 1994, he was appointed chief justice of the High Court of Orissa. He was transferred again eight months later to the Karnataka High Court. In March 1995 he was appointed as a judge to the Supreme Court of India by the Congress government. Judge Nanavati retired in February 2000.[2]

Nanavati Commission[edit]

Judge Nanavati was appointed by the NDA to probe the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots. He was the one-man commission[3] aptly named the Nanavati commission. The commission incriminated UPA politicians Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler. He has stated that evidence indicated that it was a "lapse on part of the civil administration" not to call the Indian Army in a timely fashion, "resulting in large-scale rioting and loss of lives".

Response to Godhra riots[edit]

When asked about the 2002 Godhra riots in 2003 Justice Nanavati stated that evidence recorded till that date had not indicated any 'serious lapses' on the police or the administration of Gujarat during these riots. These comments came before the two-man commission investigating the riots had recorded testimony in Ahmedabad and Vadodara.[4]

Notable quotes[edit]


  1. ^ I haven't absolved Cong: Nanavati Rediff - February 17, 2005
  2. ^ Bio Supreme court of India
  3. ^ Credible evidence against Tytler: Nanavati The Hindu - August 9, 2005
  4. ^ No police lapse in Gujarat riots: Justice Nanavati Rediff - May 18, 2003
  5. ^ "'I haven't absolved Cong: Nanavati". Rediff.com. 1984-10-31. Retrieved 2014-08-18.