On January 28, 2020 Supreme Court granted interim bail to 14 convicts in Sardarpura post-Godhra riots case on the condition that they will not enter Gujarat and they keep aside six hours a week to engage themselves in “spiritual and social service”. The convicts were divided into two groups consisting of six men in one and eight in the other. They were to be relocated to Madhya Pradesh where one of the group will be in Indore and the other in Jabalpur respectively.
The case was referred to a three judge bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde, Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant. The 2002 Gujarat Riots were one of the disastrous massacres in the history of the country. They were the most heinous communal violence that could ever happen in any country. On February 28, 2002, hundreds of people surrounded the Sheikh Vaas lane in Sardarpura, near Surat city, and the mob burnt the house of a man where victims had taken shelter. Police arrested 76 people in connection with the case, two of whom died during the trial. This is the case in which 33 Muslims were burnt alive in February 2002, in the aftermath of the burning of a bogie of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra in which 59 people died. At least 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the riots. In 2016, the Gujarat High Court had upheld the life terms for 17 people and acquitted 14 more convicted in the Sardarpura case.
This present case is an appeal against the Gujarat High Court. This case was one of the nine cases of Gujarat riots case which was referred to Special Investigation Team by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has directed the District Legal Services Authorities (DLSA) at Indore and Jabalpur to ensure that the convicts observe bail conditions diligently. It has also directed DLSA to help the convicts in finding suitable employment for earning their livelihood.