New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday granted bail to one of the accused in the 2002 Godhra train burning, which was followed by communal riots in Gujarat.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud and comprising Justice P.S. Narasimha noted that the convict has been in the prison for 17 years and his role was of throwing stones at the train.
The bench said the application of bail made by accused Faruk is granted and noted that he has been in custody since 2004, and also his appeal against conviction was pending before the top court. It added that the applicant is granted bail subject to terms and conditions imposed by the sessions court.
According to the state government, the accused instigated the mob and threw stones at the coach, injured passengers, and damaged the coach.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Gujarat government, submitted that since the convicts were throwing stones, it prevented the people from escaping the burning coach, and pressed that under normal circumstances stone throwing may be a less grave offence, but in this case it was different.
The top court also accepted a request made by Mehta to list all appeals for final hearing, including the appeals filed by the state government for enhancement of sentence.
In March 2011, the trial court had convicted 31 persons, out of 11 were sentenced to death and 20 were sentenced to life. A total of 63 accused were acquitted.
In October 2017, the Gujarat High Court upheld the conviction of all, but commuted the death sentence of the 11 to life imprisonment.