HC to hear appeals of Godhra carnage from Feb 18

Godhra carnageThe Gujarat High court will conduct from February 18 a day-to-day hearing on appeals in the case of burning the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express on February 2002, near Godhra station in which 59 karsevaks were killed.

Justice Anant Dave of the Gujarat High Court will hear appeals of 31 convicts of the case.

On February 22, 2011, special trial court judge P R Patel had convicted 31 people for murder and criminal conspiracy to burn alive 59 karsevaks in the Godhra train carnage case.

Eleven people were given death sentence while 20 others were awarded life imprisonment.

The special trial court had also acquitted 63 people.

Gujarat government, which had filed the appeal after three years, sought death sentence for 20 people who were awarded life terms.

The kin of the victims had also sought the death sentence for all convicts who had challenged the verdict of the special trial court.

Earlier, the convicts had made representations to acting Chief Justice V M Sahai that their appeals should be conducted before a High Court bench which does not comprise Justice Sonia Gokani.

HC admits SIT appeals in Deepda Darwaza case

The appeals filed by SIT challenging the designated court’s order in post-Godhra Deepda Darwaza riots case, in which 11 persons, including nine women and children were killed has been admitted by the Gujarat High Court.

A division bench of Justices M R Shah and S H Vora exempted the SIT for the delay in filing the appeals and admitted them.

In its judgment on July 30, 2012, the designated judge S C Srivastava has awarded life imprisonment to 21 people and a year in jail to a retired police officer, while acquitting 61 others.

SIT had filed the appeals challenging the judgment earlier this month, beyond the stipulated time limit of 90 days and hence it has also filed a separate application seeking court’s permission to grant delay.

In the appeals, the SIT has demanded that 21 accused convicted under section 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC should be convicted for murder (under section 302 of IPC).

It has also challenged the acquittal of 57 accused, who were given benefit of doubt by the designated court, on the grounds that there was a criminal conspiracy behind the incident which has resulted in the death of 11 members of a family.

In the case of four other accused, who were acquitted by the court, a consent to file appeal was yet to be received from the state legal department as their whereabouts was not known and appeals against their acquittal has not been filed yet.

Over a decade after the incident, designated judge had acquitted 61 of the 83 accused, including former BJP MLA Prahlad Gosa and ex-municipal president Dayabhai Patel, also of the same party.

The designated court had dropped the charges of murder (section 302) and 120(B) (Criminal Conspiracy) of IPC against all the 21, who were awarded life imprisonment.