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SC grants 6 months to conclude trial in a Gujarat riots case

Supreme-Court

New Delhi : The Supreme Court today granted six more months to a lower court in Gujarat to conclude trial in the 2002 Naroda Gam riots case, one of the nine post-Godhra riots matters probed by the apex court-appointed SIT pertaining to the killing of eleven members of a community.

“The City Civil & Sessions Court (at Ahmedabad in Gujarat) is granted six months more time to conclude trial and pronounce the judgement (in the Naroda Gam case),” a bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice A M Khanwilkar said.

The court considered the submission of amicus curiae and senior advocate Harish Salve and SIT chief R K Raghavan, who is a former CBI chief, that the trial court should be granted more time as it has to examine nearly 300 witnesses.

“So far as other eight cases are concerned, investigations have been completed. The charge sheets have been filed and the trial courts have pronounced the judgements and now the cases are at stage of appeal in the High Court,” Salve said.

He said a time limit can be fixed for the lower court to conclude the trial.

Eleven persons belonging to the minority community were killed at Naroda Gam in 2002 riots during a bandh called in protest of the Godhra train burning incident. A total of 82 persons are facing trial in the case.

In June, a special court had convicted 24 persons in the Gulberg society riots case in which 68 people, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, were killed.

The apex court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been probing nine major riots cases including the Gulberg society riots case and the Naroda Gam matter.

The apex court, on February 22 this year, had paved the way for pronouncement of judgement by Ahmedabad trial court in various cases including the Gulberg Society massacre case.

It had said there was no restraint on the trial judge to pronounce the verdict and granted him three months for it.

The apex court had on August 5 last year granted an extension of another three months to wind up the proceedings in the case.

The apex court has been monitoring nine sensitive cases after the National Human Rights Commission and various NGOs termed the investigation into these as shoddy and unreliable.

The cases were about the riots in different parts of Gujarat, including the Gulberg Society, Ode, Sardarpura, Narodao Gaon, Naroda Patya, Machipith, Tarsali, Pandarwada and Raghavapura.

An estimated 2,000 people were killed in post-Godhra riots in 2002.

PTI

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