The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday allowed six victims of the 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre to get case papers running into over 1.25 lakh pages free of cost from the registry of the court.
The victims had filed a petition earlier this month to get the case papers free of cost after the registry demanded Rs 1.18 lakh printing cost from them. The victims Fatimabibi Sheikh, Farzanabanu Pathan, Dilawar Saiyed, Jannatbibi Sheikh, Ishrat Jahan Saiyed and Ruksana Qureshi moved the application through advocate K N Shashtri, seeking copies of the case papers without any charges.
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During the hearing, a division bench of Justices Harsha Devani and A S Supehia asked the special investigation team (SIT) lawyer if the victims, who have also filed appeal petitions against 11 persons who were acquitted, can be given the papers free of cost.
SIT lawyer R C Kodekar told the bench that it is the discretion of the court to grant such requests, however, there is no such rule under the Code of Criminal Procedure and other relevant high court rules.
Kodekar told the bench that Section 482 of the CrPC gives power to High Courts to pass necessary order for justice.
Following the brief argument, the bench allowed the petition moved by the victims and ordered the registry to provide a copy of entire case papers without any charges. The case papers include the appeal petitions and judgment of the special designated court.
The High Court has also started hearing the appeal petitions on daily basis since Monday.
The division bench is hearing the appeal petitions against conviction moved by 31 convicts, including former BJP minister Maya Kodnani and Bajrang Dal leader Babubhai Patel alias Babu Bajrangi. They are facing life sentence for their alleged roles in the Naroda Patiya massacre in which 97 Muslims were killed on February 28, 2002, when large scale riots had broken out in the state following the Sabarmati Express train burning incident.