The Gujarat High Court on Monday commuted the death sentence of 11 convicts to life imprisonment in the 2002 Godhra train burning case. It upheld a lower court’s order sentencing 20 other convicts in the case to life imprisonment, The Times of India reported.
The bench of Justice AS Dave and Justice GR Udhwani observed that the state and railways had failed to maintain law and order during the riots. It directed the government and railways to pay Rs 10 lakh as compensation to the families of those who were killed on February 27, 2002, after coach S6 of the Sabarmati Express was set on fire at the Godhra station, PTI reported. The death of 59 people had triggered communal riots across Gujarat.
The High Court pronounced its verdict after hearing a set of appeals challenging the lower court’s convictions and acquittals in the case. The bench also refused to reverse the lower court’s order acquitting 63 accused in the case.
On March 1, 2011, a special court of a Special Investigation Team had convicted 31 people and acquitted 63 in the case. Eleven convicts were sentenced to death, and 20 were given life terms. Since then, several appeals were filed in the Gujarat High Court challenging the order. The state government had also questioned the acquittal of 63 people.