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Transfer of Godhra case: apex court notice to Gujarat

By J. Venkatesan

NEW DELHI, FEB. 16. The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Gujarat Government on a petition filed by the Citizens for Justice and Peace seeking transfer of trial in the Godhra train carnage case outside the State.

A three-Judge Bench comprising the Chief Justice V.N. Khare, Justice A.R. Lakshmanan and Justice S.H. Kapadia, also asked the Gujarat Government to file an appeal against the High Court judgment acquitting all the 21 accused in the Best Bakery case in which 14 people were burnt alive in the aftermath of the Godhra train carnage.

Senior counsel Harish Salve, amicus curie in the Gujarat riot case, submitted that some of the accused and relatives of the victims in the case had also sought transfer of trial outside the State. He wanted to know whether the Government was filing any appeal in the apex court in the matter.

To a question from the Chief Justice, the Additional Solicitor General, Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Gujarat said that the appeal was ready and it would be filed in a day or two.

However the Bench asked him to file the appeal by tomorrow.

The Bench issued notice to the State after senior counsel, Kapil Sibal appearing for the petitioner, said that though the petition was pending for some time, notice had not been issued.

Adjourning the hearing till February 27, the Bench also sought the response of the State Government into the allegations that some of the accused in the post-Godhra riot cases were granted bail after the apex court had stayed their trial on a petition seeking the transfer of the cases outside the State.

The Hindu