Godhra case: Gujarat HC admits govt plea to enhance sentencehttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/latest-news/godhra-case-gujarat-hc-admits-govt-plea-to-enhance-sentence/

Godhra case: Gujarat HC admits govt plea to enhance sentence

The court will hear the state govt application challenging the acquittal of 63 others on October 11.

The Gujarat High court today admitted the appeal of the state government seeking enhancement of the sentence of 20 convicts in the 2002 Godhra train burning case from life imprisonment to death.

The appeal was admitted by the division bench of justices D H Waghela and J C Upadhyaya.

A special court in March had convicted 31 people and acquitted 63 others in the train burning case.

The court had pronounced death sentence to 11 convicts and life term for 20 others in connection with the incident that left 59 people,mostly karsevaks,dead and triggered violence in Gujarat killing over 1,000 people,mostly from the minority community.

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The court will hear the state government’s application challenging the acquittal of 63 others on October 11.

According to special public prosecutor J M Panchal,the state’s appeal seeking enhancement of the sentence of 20 convicts,will now be heard along with the application for confirmation of death sentence awarded to 11 people.

The acquittal of the 63 people by the special court was also challenged in the high court by two of the victims.

These appeals were filed by Nilkanth Bhatia,who along with his wife was injured in the incident,and Gayatri Panchal,who had lost four of his family members,including her parents and two sisters.

Meanwhile,all the 31 convicted in the case have also filed appeals in the high court challenging the trial court order.

These include convicts on death sentence namely Haji Bilal,Mohammad Kurkur,Binyamin Behra,Hasan Charkha,Yusuf Zarda,Mehbub Ahmed alias Latiko and five others.

The other 20 accused who were sentenced to life imprisonment have also filed an appeal against the lower court verdict.

Special judge P R Patel,while delivering the verdict in the case had termed the incident as the ‘rarest of rare’ and said that any liberal attitude or sympathetic view would be counter-productive in the long run and against societal interest.