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regular-article-logo Monday, 24 June 2024

Bail for 8 convicts in Godhra case

Supreme Court rejects bail plea of four other life convicts, citing their key role in the incident

Our Legal Correspondent New Delhi Published 22.04.23, 04:53 AM
Supreme Court of India

Supreme Court of India File picture

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to eight people sentenced to life imprisonment in the 2002 Godhra train burning case, which was followed by the Gujarat riots.

The apex court, however, rejected the bail plea of four other life convicts, citing their key role in the incident.

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While granting relief to the eight people, a bench of Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice P.S. Narasimha took note of the fact that they had already spent more than 16-18 years in prison and their appeal against their conviction before the top court would take a considerable time for adjudication.

The convicts who were granted bail are Abdul Sattar Ibrahim Gaddi Asla, Yunus Abdul Hakk Samol, Mohammad Hanif Abdulla Moulvi Badam, Abdul Rauf Abdul Majid Isa, Ibrahim Abdulrazak Abdul Sattar Samol, Ayub Abdul Gani Ismail Pataliya, Soheb Yusuf Ahmed Kalandar and Suleman Ahmad Hussain.

"We are inclined to grant bail to the applicants having due regard to the period of imprisonment which has been undergone, particularly, since the appeals are not likely to be taken up for disposal at an early date.... The applicants were sentenced to suffer imprisonment for life following their convictions under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and cognate offences. We accordingly order and direct that the above applicants be released on bail, subject to such terms and conditions as may be imposed by the sessions court…” the CJI said.

Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde appeared for the convicts while solicitor-general Tushar Mehta appeared for the state of Gujarat.

On Mehta’s request, the bench declined to grant bail to Anwar Mohammad Mehda, Saukat Abdulla Moulvi Ismail Badam, Mehboob Yakub Mitha and Siddik Mohammad Mora.

"The IAs (interim applications) relating to the above applicants shall stand dismissed at this stage,” the bench said.

The Gujarat government had in February told the Supreme Court that people convicted in the Godhra train burning case were not eligible for early release under the state’s policy.

Instead, the state had sought the death penalty for 11 of the convicts.

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