Will seek death penalty for 11 Godhra train burning convicts, Gujarat tells SC

Gujarat will press for death penalty to 11 convicts whose sentences in the 2002 Godhra train burning case were commuted to life imprisonment

February 20, 2023 12:46 pm | Updated 02:03 pm IST - New Delhi

File picture of the Supreme Court

File picture of the Supreme Court | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The State of Gujarat on Monday objected to the bail applications of convicts in the 2002 Godhra train burning case, saying 59 passengers, including women and children, were locked in the bogeys and burnt alive.

“We see this as a rarest of rare offence. It cannot be graver than that,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for Gujarat, submitted before a three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud.

Mr. Mehta said there were 31 convictions, of which 20 were sentenced to life imprisonment and the convictions of 11 others were later commuted from death penalty to life sentence.

The law officer said the convicts cannot be considered for premature release as TADA was invoked against them.

“This is the case where 59 people were burnt alive. The bogey was bolted from the outside and set ablaze with petrol. The people who died included women and children,” Mr. Mehta said.

The Bench mentioned that one of the convicts had been granted bail. Abdul Raheman Dhantiya had been allowed bail in May last year on the ground that his wife was suffering from terminal cancer and that his daughters were mentally challenged. In November, the court extended his bail till March 31, 2023.

On December 15, the apex court had granted bail to Farook, who was sentenced, on the ground that he had undergone 17 years’ sentence.

The lawyers for the petitioners said some of them had already served 17 years in prison.

The court listed the case after three weeks, directing the lawyers to submit a chart with the details of the convicts.

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