FILE - Image of the Supreme Court, used for representational purposes only. (Photo | PTI)
FILE - Image of the Supreme Court, used for representational purposes only. (Photo | PTI)

SC refuses bail to three convicts in 2002 Godhra riots case

Noting that the convicts remained in custody for 17 years, senior advocate Sanjay Hedge, appearing for the convicts, said the accusations against the two were just stone-pelting.

NEW DELHI:  The Supreme Court on Monday refused to grant bail to three life convicts in the Godhra train burning case that triggered communal riots across Gujarat in 2002. Saukat Yusuf Ismail Mohan, Siddik Abdullah Badam Shaikh and Bilal Abdullah Ismail Badam Ghanchi are the three convicted in the Godhra riots who moved the apex court.

Taking note of the specific roles assigned to them and calling the incident “very serious”, a bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Mishra said that the same was not a case of an isolated person being murdered. 

“The incident is a very serious incident and it is not a case of an isolated person being murdered,” CJI Chandrachud said while constituting a bench to hear the criminal appeals against Gujarat HC’s 2017 verdict of commuting the death sentence to the 11 convicts to a life term. 

“I’ll list the appeal before the appropriate bench. This matter has to be heard, Mr Solicior General. We can’t keep it pending indefinitely. I’ll also have to select a bench,” the Chief Justice said. 

Objecting to the bail, solicitor general Tushar Mehta claimed the charges against them were not just of stone-pelting. “One accused was found guilty of being the main conspirator who also actively participated in the act of burning the bogie of the train,” Mehta said.

Noting that the convicts remained in custody for 17 years, senior advocate Sanjay Hedge, appearing for the convicts, said the accusations against the two were just stone-pelting while one was accused of robbing ornaments of the passengers. The Supreme Court on April 21 had granted bail to eight convicts who were sentenced to life imprisonment for their involvement in the 2002 Godhra train carnage case in Gujarat. 

A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha while granting them bail took into consideration the period of imprisonment undergone by them (17-18 years) and also the fact that there was no likelihood of their appeals being taken up for disposal at an early date. The bench however refused to grant bail to four convicts due to their alleged roles in the case. The bail was refused to four convicts pursuant to solicitor general Mehta’s objection.

The incident had resulted in the deaths of 59 people including women and children who were returning from Ayodhya died on February 27, 2002. The mob had gathered just near the Godhra railway station bolted the compartment door from outside, pelted stones and set the coach on fire.

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