The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday granted bail to Vishva Hindu Parishad leader Atul Vaidya, who was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment in the 2002 Gulberg Society massacre case. This is the first instance of a convict getting regular bail in the case.
Pronouncing the judgment, a division bench led by Justice Abhilasha Kumari said, “We are conscious that the court is obliged to balance the rights of the citizen(s) regarding liberty with the possible impact on society. While weighing both aspects, we do not find that the suspension of the sentence imposed upon the applicant would have a momentously adverse impact or deleterious effect on society, especially when all other factors based on judicial precedents as required by law to suspend the sentence, are present in this case.”
Vaidya’s lawyers, including senior counsel Jal Unwala, had argued that only one witness had identified him in the trial court testimony, which did not convince the court. They also said he had already served one year of imprisonment while his appeal petition was pending in the high court.
Vaidya, who was among the 24 convicted in the case, was sentenced by the trial court last June while 36 others were acquitted.