Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court on Wednesday issued notices to 21 convicts who were awarded life term by a designated court in 2012 in the post-Godhra Dipda Darwaza riot case on a petition filed by the SIT seeking condonation of delay in filing appeals against the verdict. A division bench of Justices MR Shah and SH Vora also issued notices to 57 accused whose acquittal by the designated court in the case was challenged by the SIT earlier in April 2013.
The bench posted further hearing on the petition to May 6, 2013. In its verdict on July 30, 2012, the designated court judge SC Srivastava had awarded life imprisonment to 21 people and one year jail term to a retired police officer, while acquitting 61 of total 83 accused, including former BJP MLA Prahlad Gosa and ex-municipal president Dayabhai Patel, also of the same party.
Eleven persons, including nine women and children, were killed by a mob at Dipda Darwaza area in Visnagar town in Mehsana district during post-Godhra riots. The SIT had challenged the designated court's judgement earlier in April 2013, beyond the stipulated time limit of 90 days, and also moved a separate application seeking the high court's permission to grant delay.
Giving details of the appeal, Special Public Prosecutor Manisha Lavkumar said, "We have, in our appeal, challenged the acquittal of 57 accused by the special court. We have also demanded that 21 accused convicted in the case under the charges of 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC should be convicted for murder (under section 302 of IPC)". In the case of four accused, a consent to file appeal was yet to be received by SIT from the state legal department as their whereabouts are not known.