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SC wants trial in British men killing case over in three months

Posted on Aug 26 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Aug 26 : The Supreme Court Tuesday asked the trial court in Gujarat trying the case involving the killing of three British nationals during the post Godhra carnage to complete the trial within three months.

Taking note that the trial in the matter had not been completed in last 10 years, a bench of Justice H.L.Dattu, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice M.Y.Eqbal directed the trial court to complete the trial in the matter as expeditiously as possible and pronounce the order within three months.

The three British nationals, who hailed from Gujarat, had gone to Ajmer Sharif shrine in neighbouring Rajasthan for pilgrimage and were on their way back when their car was stopped on the highway in Gujarat and were killed after their identity was revealed.

The court order came as senior counsel and amicus curiae Harish Salve told the court that the trial in the case was conducted but before it could have been completed, the judge got transferred and the new judges had hear the case afresh and thus it got delayed.

As the court ordered the expeditious hearing of the matter, Salve urged it to direct the trial court judge to hold the hearing on day to day basis instead of existing practice of hearing the matter once a week.

He expressed the apprehension that in the absence of day to day hearing of the matter, it would remain incomplete and the matter would get prolonged.

In Gulberg Society carnage case, the court allowed the SIT - that probed nine Gujarat riot cases - to move an application seeking the modification of the court's October 2010 order by which the trial court was allowed to complete the trial but was restrained from pronouncing the order.

Wondering how for four years the trial court was under restrain from pronouncing its verdict, the court said that the accused in the case, who were in jail for last 10 years or so, must know their fate whether they are going to remain in jail for rest of their life or they could be free after the judgment is pronounced by the trial court.

Justice Dattu said that they have received letters from the accused that they are in jail for 10 years and want to know their fate.

"At the end of the day we have to tell them - either be inside for ever or come out," observed Justice Dattu, saying "We have to see both the sides" as the court asked the SIT to make an appropriate application seeking the modification of October 2010 order.

Directing the next hearing of the mater on Sep 16, the court did not pass any order on the remaining two cases relating to Gulberg Society carnage - in which 69 people including a former Congress member of parliament were killed after the society complex was set on fire by the rioters and the other relating to the Naroda Gaon carnage case.

The SIT headed by the former Central Bureau of Investigation director R.K.Raghvan had investigated nine riot case that included Gulberg Society, Sardarpura, Naroda Gaon, Naroda Patya, Machipith, Ode, Tarsali, Pandarwada and Raghavapura.

Except for three cases, the trial in other six cases had completed and verdict including convictions were pronounced.

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