The Supreme Court, on Thursday, granted bail to one, Farook, undergoing life imprisonment after being convicted for his role in pelting stone at Sabarmati Express at Godhra railway station on February 27, 2002, to prevent passengers from escaping burning S-6 coach resulting in 59 Kar Sevaks charred to death as he has been jail for 17 years.
Granting bail to Farook, a bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha noted that petitioner (Farook) has been in jail for 17 long years and his appeal against his conviction is pending in the Supreme Court.
The court also noted that his role was of pelting stones on the train.
The Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Gujarat government, opposed Farook’s plea for bail, contending that he and other convicts in the case, threw stones on the Sabarmati Express train which prevented people from escaping the burning coach.
“It is not a case of mere stone pelting,” the Solicitor General told the bench, arguing that the convicts, including Farook, should not be granted bail for their role in the case.
The Gujarat High Court, by its October 2017 judgement, had commuted to life imprisonment the death sentence awarded to 11 convicts in the Godhra train burning case. It had upheld the life sentence awarded to 20 other convicts in the case.
As court granted bail to Farook, Solicitor General Mehta urged the court to list all appeals for final hearing including those filed by the State government for the enhancement of sentence.
The burning of coach 6 of Sabarmati Express at Godhra railway station triggered widespread riots in Gujarat that resulted in the death of over 2,000 people in the State, mostly belonging to a minority community.
More than 100 people were arrested in connection with the burning of coach-6 of Sabarmati Express. The trial court in February 2011 convicted 31 and acquitted 63. 11 of them were given death sentence while the remaining 20 were given life imprisonment.