A court in Ahmedabad on September 20 once again allowed 2002 Naroda Gam riots accused and former BJP minister Maya Kodnani to travel out of Gujarat for six months. The designated trial court for hearing Naroda Gam riots cases also permitted Kodnani to access her passport to get it renewed, following the expiry of its validity.
In May 2009, while granting bail the court had imposed a bail condition on Kodnani that she cannot leave Gujarat without its prior permission. The court, through subsequent orders in applications moved by Kodnani since 2018, has been relaxing this condition from time to time and letting her leave Gujarat. The last such relaxation was granted by the court in an order dated March 31, 2022, for a period of six months effective from April 1.
The ground on which Kodnani seeks relaxation has been more or less uniform. She has been citing that she needs to frequently step out of the state for the “purpose of composing herself from her ailment of depression by embarking on pilgrimages outside Gujarat along with her family members, as also for attending social gatherings and functions outside Gujarat, and also to visit her relatives who are residing outside Gujarat.”
The prosecution has not objected to such relaxation, leaving it to the court to exercise its discretion.
Judge Subhada Baxi in the latest order permitted the relaxation to Maya Kodnani effective from October 1, for the next six months, and also allowed her to retrieve her old passport from the concerned investigating officer for renewal. Kodnani’s travel document had expired in May 2017.
However, the court clarified such retrieval has been permitted solely for the limited purpose of renewal and directed Kodnani that after getting the renewed passport, she shall immediately surrender it to the investigating officer.