The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to eight life convicts in the 2002 Godhra train burning case in Gujarat, that claimed the lives of 58 people, but declined to release four others. Supreme Court refused to consider the application of four others including two men who were convicted for arranging the petrol and pouring it on coach S6 of the Sabarmati Express.
The Apex Court was hearing the bail plea of 31 Godhra riot convicts on Friday. Some of these convicts sought bail until their appeals against conviction are disposed. A trial court sentenced 11 convicts to death penalty while 20 of them were sentenced to life imprisonment. The Gujarat High Court had upheld their conviction but reduced the death sentence in the case.
Supreme court bench said, “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 eight convicts approached the top court early this year claiming that both the trial court and the Gujarat high court sentenced them to life for the charge of pelting stones and causing damage to the S6 coach of Sabarmati Express.
According to media reports, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Gujarat government, submitted that he has some issues with the bail application of four accused, because of their roles in the train burning case. The accused have undergone imprisonment for nearly 17 years.
While, Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, on behalf of the petitioners, suggested that the court could adjourn the hearing on the bail applications of the four convicts, whose bail was opposed by Mehta, and grant bail to other convicts.