The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted a three-month extension to an Ahmedabad court to complete trial proceedings in the Gulberg Society massacre, one of the nine cases connected to the 2002 post-Godhra riots.
The hearing in the case, which dealt with a mob attack at the Gulberg housing society at Chamanpura in Ahmedabad on February 22, 2002, in which 71 persons, including former parliamentarian Ehsan Jafri, were killed, was by a Bench led by Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu.
The Bench further declined a plea by the accused for bail on the ground that the trial is dragging on.
In a November hearing, the Bench had observed how “people are languishing in jail for over 10 years.”
The case had lumbered on through periodic retirements of trial judges, procedural delays and a flurry of complaints filed by victims against the conduct of the Special Investigation Team (SIT).
The case has a total of 73 accused and 580 witnesses. Five of the accused continue to remain in jail, after being denied bail.
Since the Supreme Court started monitoring the nine riots-related cases after a petition from the National Human Rights Commission, the Gulberg case has had a chequered history.
In 2012, the SIT had given a clean chit to then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on a complaint by Mr. Jafri's widow, Zakia, in the case.