G. T. Nanavati

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Girish Thakorlal Nanavati
Justice, Supreme Court of India
In office
6 March 1995 – 16 February 2000
Personal details
Born (1935-02-17) 17 February 1935 (age 82)
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 headed two commissions inquiring into the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots and the Godhra riots.

Early life[edit]

Judge Nanavati was 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 bachelor's and master's 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 on 16 February 2000.[2]

Nanavati Commission[edit]

Nanavati was appointed by the National Democratic Alliance government to probe the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots. He was the sole member of the Nanavati commission.[3] The commission incriminated Indian National Congress politicians Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler. Nanavati 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".[citation needed]

Godhra riots[edit]

In March 2002, Judge Nanavati was appointed to head a two-man commission investigating the 2002 Godhra riots, replacing Judge K. G. Shah.[4] Throughout the proceedings and in its final report of November 2014, the commission concluded that there had been no serious lapses by either the police, nor the state administration in dealing with the riots.[5][6] The report itself has yet to be made public.[7]

Notable quotes[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bhatt, Sheela (17 February 2005). "I haven't absolved Cong: Nanavati". The Rediff Special. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. 
  2. ^ "Former Judges: Hon'ble Mr. Justice G.T. Nanavati". Supreme Court of India. Archived from the original on 12 May 2011. 
  3. ^ Kumar, Vinay (9 August 2005). "Credible evidence against Tytler: Nanavati". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 8 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "After 12 years, Nanavati Commission submits final report on 2002 Gujarat riots". Indian Express. 18 November 2014. Archived from the original on 18 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "No police lapse in Gujarat riots: Justice Nanavati". Rediff. 18 May 2003. Archived from the original on 23 May 2003. 
  6. ^ Jaffrelot, Christophe (25 February 2012). "Gujarat 2002: What Justice for the Victims?". Economic & Political Weekly. 47 (8): 77–80. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. 
  7. ^ Tripathi, Rahul (4 July 2015). "UN rapporteur Christof Heyns urges government to make Nanavati commission report on 2002 riots public". The Economic Times. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015.