Convicts in the 2022 Godhra Train Burning Case, in which 59 Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya were charred to death, have cited the remission given to the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case to seek their release. Their pleas have been pending in the Supreme Court since 2018.
Appearing for them, senior advocate KTS Tulsi, said most of the convicts have served between 16-18 years’ imprisonment and argued in many cases the conviction by the trial court is questionable.
A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala asked solicitor general Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Gujarat government, whether grant of remission could be considered for these appellants who on an average have served more than 14 years’ sentence.
Mehta said the crime was of heinous nature, adding that the state has filed petitions for restoration of the death sentence to the 11 whose capital punishments were commuted to life by the HC.
A lone Godhra case convict, whose appeal is pending in SC, has been released on bail on the ground that his wife is suffering from terminal cancer and that there was no one to take care of his two minor mentally challenged daughters.
The SC asked the petitioners’ advocate on record and state counsel Swati Ghildiyal to prepare a detailed chart briefly containing their role and charges against them which were upheld by the HC. It posted further hearing after three weeks.