SC extends bail granted to Godhra convict on account of his terminally ill wife

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Dhantiya had earlier informed court that he has already served 20 years of imprisonment and his appeal, pending before this court is likely to take some more time.

Supreme Court today ordered that the bail granted to one Abdul Raheman Dhantiya, a convicted co-conspirator who carried out the Godhra Carnage in 2002 and was sentenced to life imprisonment, shall stand extended pending further orders.

SG Tushar Mehta, appearing on behalf of the State of Gujarat, told the court that his consent may be recorded on grant of such relief to Dhantiya.

When the case was taken up, SG Mehta told the bench comprising CJI Chandrachud along with Justices Pardiwala and Narasimha that, "I have some confusion about some particular accused. Almost everyone is before the court seeking a bail. If it can be after the longish holiday..".

This request was vehemently opposed by Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde appearing for the accused.

Although, CJI agreed to the SG's request and ordered, "Now on April 10, we will dispose it off. No more adjournments."

SG Mehta assured the bench that he would bifurcate all the matters by then.

In November last year, the Supreme Court had extended the bail granted to Dhantiya on the grounds of his wife being terminally ill and child being specially abled. 

An earlier order of the Supreme Court had granted him interim bail, in which a bench of then Justices DY Chandrachud & Surya Kant had then noted,

"We have heard  Mr  Sanjay Hegde, senior counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant and Mr Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General for the State of Gujarat. In our view, having regard to the two reasons noted above on the basis of which interim bail has been sought, we consider it appropriate and proper to direct that pending the disposal of the appeal, the appellant shall presently be released on interim bail for a period of six months," the bench said.

Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde appearing for Majid informed court that he has already served 20 years of imprisonment and his appeal, pending before this court is likely to take some more time.

Majid's appeal against the Gujarat High Court order of October 9, 2017 upholding his conviction has been challenged before Supreme Court and is pending adjudication.

According to the plea seeking extension, Majid's wife was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and she has been under treatment since 2019. "Further, the appellant's two daughters are mentally retarded from birth and dependant upon their father, the appellant," the application stated.

It is further the case of Majid that the "only allegation against Majid is that of pelting stones at the fire fighter and damaging public property by damaging the fire fighting vehicle".

Notably, in an appeal filed by the State of Gujarat challenging the High Court's order which brought down the capital sentence awarded to the convicts of the Godhra train carnage, to life sentence, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had told the Supreme Court that locking a train bogey with passengers inside and pelting stones would not just be considered stone pelting.

"They say it is stone pelting. But when you lock a bogey with 59 passengers inside and pelt stones, then it is not just stone pelting...", SG Mehta had told a CJI led bench.

 Case Title: Abdul Raheman Dhantiya vs. State of Gujarat