The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to eight convicts serving life sentences for their involvement in the 2002 Godhra train burning case, Live Law reported.

The court, however, rejected bail for four other convicts, taking note of their roles in the case.

On February 27, 2002, coach S6 of the Sabarmati Express was set on fire at the Godhra station, leading to the deaths of 59 persons. The coach was carrying kar sevaks who were returning from Ayodhya.

The incident triggered widespread communal riots in Gujarat, resulting in the deaths of 1,044 persons, according to official figures.

In 2017, the Gujarat High Court had commuted death sentences given to 11 convicts by a trial court to life imprisonment and upheld the life term of 20 others.

A Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha on Friday granted bail to eight convicts on the grounds that they had spent 17 years in jail, NDTV reported. It also noted that their appeals in the Supreme Court were not likely to be taken up soon.

However, the bench dismissed the petitions of the other four convicts, saying: “We are not inclined to grant them bail at this stage.”

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had opposed bail for the four convicts, citing their roles in the train burning. “From one of them, an iron pipe was recovered, and from another, a dhariya,” he said. “It is a Gujarati word for a weapon that looks like a sickle. Another convict was found purchasing, storing and carrying petrol which was used for burning the coach. The last one attacked the passengers, causing injuries, and looting them.”