New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted an extension of another three months to an Ahmedabad trial court to wind up the proceedings in 2002 Gulberg Society massacre in which former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri and 67 others were killed.
However, a bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu declined to give bail to the accused who had sought the relief on the ground that since trial of the case has been dragging, they are entitled to be released from jail.
While District Judge PB Desai had requested the apex court to grant three more months to complete the trial in the case, the accused persons had written to it that due to delay in completing the proceedings they should be granted bail as they have been in jail for 10 years.
The apex court bench, also comprising Justices MB Lokur and MY Eqbal, refused to interfere with the Gujarat High Court order of December 23, 2013 granting conditional bail to all 21 people who were convicted and sent to life term in a case relating to the 2002 Deepda Darwaza riots in which 11 persons of a family were killed. The appeal of the convicts in the case is pending.
It said that the relative of the victim who has filed an appeal in the apex court can approach the high court seeking early hearing of the matter for cancellation of bail.
However, it declined to direct the high court to consider the matter on priority basis saying "it would not be proper" to pass such a direction.
The high court had said state authorities or the SIT could move a plea for cancellation of bail to any of the accused if there was breach of any condition.
The case relates to the killing of 11 members of a family
including two children and a 65-year-old woman on February 28, 2002 in Deepda Darwaza area of Visnagar town in Mehsana district of Gujarat after the Godhra train fire incident.
It was one of the nine cases probed by the Supreme Court- appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT).
The apex court had in 2014 expressed satisfaction over the progress of nine cases of post-Godhra riots in Gujarat probed by the SIT.
It has been monitoring nine sensitive cases after the National Human Rights Commission and various NGOs termed the investigation into these as shoddy and unreliable.
The cases were about the riots in Gulberg Society, Ode, Sardarpura, Narodao Gaon, Naroda Patya, Machipith, Tarsali, Pandarwada and Raghavapura.
An estimated 2,000 people were killed in post-Godhra riots in 2002.