Gujarat riots: Supreme Court grants bail to 14 convicts in Sardarpura massacre case
The Supreme Court of India on January 28 granted conditional bail to 14 convicts sentenced to life imprisonment by the Gujarat High Court in the 2002 Sardarpura massacre case pending their appeal before the nation’s highest apex Court. The Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant directed for the convicts to be segregated into two groups to be sent to Indore and Jabalpur says Bar and Bench. They are accused of burning 33 Muslims in the post Godhra riots in March 2002. A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant divided the convicts into two groups and said one group would move out of Gujarat and stay at Indore in Madhya Pradesh. The other group of convicts will have to relocate themselves to Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. As per the order. While laying down conditions, the Court also said that specific police stations will be marked for the convicts to report to. The Bhopal Legal Services Authority is to suggest employment opportunities for these convicts. One of the conditions laid down by the Apex Court is for the convicts to offer community service for six hours per week and for them to undergo courses or seminars for the benefit of their mental health. The report regarding these convicts will have to be submitted by the Legal Services Authority to the Supreme Court every three months, the Court said. In 2016, the Gujarat High Court had upheld the conviction of 17 accused in the Sardarpura massacre case. A Special court had convicted a total of 31 persons in the case, after three years of a trial against 73 persons from Sardarpura and nearby villages. On appeal, however, the High Court acquitted 14 persons. The convicts, who were handed down a life sentence in the Sardarpura riots case, had appealed to the apex court against the Gujarat High Court order.SC has directed the Madhya Pradesh State Legal Service Authority to file a report after three months as to whether the convicts have adhered to the condition.