2002 Godhra train burning: Convicts cite Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, seek release | India News


NEW DELHI: Convicts in the 2002 Godhra train burning case, in which 59 Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya were charred to death, have cited the remission given to the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case to seek their release. Their pleas have been pending in the Supreme Court since 2018.
Appearing for them, senior advocate K T S Tulsi, a senior Congress member of Rajya Sabha, said most of the convicts have served between 16-18 years’ imprisonment and argued in many cases the conviction by the trial court is questionable. Citing Supreme Court orders directing Uttar Pradesh to consider grant of remission to lifers who have served 14 years in jail, Tulsi said pending the decision on appeal against the 2017 Gujarat High Court judgment commuting death sentence of 11 to life sentence and maintaining life sentence to others, these convicts should be released on bail.


A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala asked solicitor general Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Gujarat government, whether grant of remission could be considered for these appellants who on an average have served more than 14 years’ sentence.

Mehta said the crime was of heinous nature — the train was stopped, petrol poured from outside into the S6 coach of Sabarmati Express and was set afire, conspirators and perpetrators then indulged in heavy stone pelting to prevent passengers escape the burning train and preventing fire tenders from reaching the sport resulting in death of 59 persons including women and children. “There cannot be a more heinous rarest of rare crime than this,” he said, adding that the state has filed petitions for restoration of the death sentence to the 11 whose capital punishments were commuted to life by the HC.
Mehta said, “They are not entitled to remission as TADA was invoked against them.”
A lone Godhra case convict, whose appeal is pending in SC, has been released on bail on the ground that his wife is suffering from terminal cancer and that there was no one to take care of his two minor mentally challenged daughters.
The SC asked the petitioners’ advocate on record and state counsel Swati Ghildiyal to prepare a detailed chart briefly containing their role and charges against them which were upheld by the HC. It posted further hearing after three weeks.


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