Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: A 3-judge bench of CJI SA Bobde and BR Gavai and Surya Kant, JJ has granted bail to 14 convicts in the Sardarpura village massacre case where 33 people were burnt alive during the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat. The 14 convicts who had been sentenced to life imprisonment have been asked by the Court to do social and spiritual services among others during the period of the bail. The court said that one batch of convicts will go to Indore while another will go to Jabalpur. The Court said,

“punitive harshness should be minimized and restorative devises to redeem the man even through community service, meditative drill, etc. should be innovated.”

The Court directed that the convicts be released on bail on furnishing bail bonds in the sum of Rs.25,000/- (Rupees twenty five thousand only) with two sureties of the like amount to the satisfaction of the trial court. The Court also issued the following directions:

(1) convicts shall not enter the State of Gujarat until the final decision of their pending appeal(s) before this Court.

(2) convicts shall reside in the District of Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh or in the District of Indore, Madhya Pradesh, as the case may be, and report to the Police Station at Civil Lines, Jabalpur, on the first day of each calendar month.

(3) convicts shall not leave the District of Jabalpur or the District of Indore, Madhya Pradesh, as the case may be without obtaining permission from the learned District & Sessions Judge, Jabalpur.

(4) convicts shall engage in any spiritual programme or do some social/community services for a minimum period of six hours in a week during the period of bail.

The court further directed that Member Secretary of the Madhya Pradesh State Legal Services Authority to produce a certificate before this Court stating therein that the convicts are regularly engaged in any of the aforesaid programme/services. It further said,

“The Madhya Pradesh State Legal Services Authority shall also assist the appellant for obtaining employment in the district of Jabalpur. The Madhya Pradesh State Legal Services Authority shall submit a report of the compliance of the above conditions and regarding general conduct of the appellant once in every three months initially.”

Among the convicts who were granted bail are Prahaladbhai Jagabhai Patel, Vijaybhai Rajivbhai Patel, and Dilipbhai Vinubhai Patel. Over a thousand people were killed during the three-day riots that ensued at several places in Gujarat after around 58 people lost their lives when the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was torched at the Godhra Railway Station on February 27, 2002.

[Prahaladbhai Jagabhai Patel v. State of Gujarat, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 109, decided on 28.01.2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: A 3-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ directed the Gujarat government to give Rs 50 lakh compensation, a job and accommodation to Bilkis Bano who was gang raped during the 2002 riots in the State.

The bench was informed by the Gujarat government that action has been taken against the erring police officials in the case and that pension benefits of the erring officials have been stopped and the IPS officer who was convicted by the Bombay High Court in the case has been demoted by two ranks.

Bano had earlier refused to accept the offer of Rs 5 lakh and had sought exemplary compensation from the state government in a plea before the top court.

The Court had earlier asked the Gujarat government to take disciplinary action in two weeks against the erring police officials, including an IPS officer, convicted by the Bombay High Court in the case.

A special court had on 21 January, 2008 convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment 11 men for raping Bano and murdering seven of her family members in the aftermath of the Godhra riots, while acquitting seven persons including the policemen and doctors.

(Source: PTI)

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court:  In the plea filed by Zakia Jafri, challenging the SIT’s clean chit to then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in connection with the 2002 Godhra riots, the Court said that it will hear the matter after four weeks. Zakia Jafri is the wife of ex-MP Ehsan Jafri who was one of the 68 killed in Ahmedabad’s Gulberg society.

The Petitioner submitted before the Court that a notice needs to be issued in the plea as it pertains to alleged “larger conspiracy” during February 27, 2002 and May 2002 and that after the SIT gave a clean chit in its closure report before a trial judge, the petitioner filed a protest which was dismissed by the magistrate without considering “substantiated merits”.

On February 8, 2012, the SIT filed a closure report saying there was “no prosecutable evidence” against the accused persons. The Gujarat high court in its October 5, 2017, order said the SIT probe was monitored by the Supreme Court. However, it partly allowed Zakia’s petition as far as its demand of a further investigation was concerned. It said the petitioner can approach an appropriate forum, including the magistrate’s court, a division bench of the high court or the Supreme Court seeking further investigation.

(Source: PTI)

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of Dipak Misra, AM Khanwilkar and Dr. DY Chandrachud, JJ granted six weeks time to the Gujarat government for apprising it on whether any disciplinary action has been initiated against policemen convicted in the 2002 Bilkis Bano gangrape case after Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the state government, requested the Court that some more time be given to get instruction on the authorities concerned in the case.

Listing the matter in the first week of January, 2018, the bench made it clear that the separate plea, seeking enhancement of compensation to be awarded to Bilkis Bano, will be taken up next week for hearing.

Bilkis Bano, who was gang-raped in March, 2002, while she was pregnant, lost seven of her family members in the aftermath of the Godhra train burning incident. Bombay High Court had, on May 4 2017, upheld the conviction and life imprisonment of 12 people in the gangrape case, while setting aside the acquittal of seven people including policemen and doctors.

Source: PTI