Ahmedabad blasts: 30 Muslim men challenge death sentence order

A division bench of the Gujarat High Court Friday admitted the appeals moved by 30 of the 38 convicts against their death sentence for the 2008 Ahmedabad serial bomb blasts.

The court will be hearing the appeals of more than two dozen Muslim men along with their death sentence confirmation application.

The division bench of Justices Vipul Pancholi and AP Thaker Friday also allowed an application, by the 30 convicts, asking the court to overlook a 115-day delay in filing the appeal, Indian Express reported. Appeals have to be filed within a stipulated time of 90 days after the conviction.

“We have also perused the averments made in the application. We are of the view that the applicant has shown sufficient cause for not preferring the appeal within the period of limitation. Hence, present application is allowed and delay of 115 days caused in preferring Criminal Appeal is hereby condoned,” the bench stated in its order.

On 18 February this year, an Ahmedabad special court had sentenced 38 of the total 49 accused to death after convicting them for offences of murder under IPC, offences under provisions of draconian UAPA, Explosive Substances Act and other provisions. Many of the convicts and families said the evidence against them are framed and false.

The confirmation of their death sentence came up before the HC in March. A death sentence pronounced by a trial court is required to be confirmed by the HC under the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) . The death sentence can be executed upon confirmation from the high court. In July, HC had admitted the case of confirmation of the death sentence.

In February this year, a special designated court had awarded capital punishment to 38 convicts while 11 others given life imprisonment after finding them guilty for carrying out serial bomb blasts in Ahmedabad in 2008, which killed 56 persons and left over 200 injured. In emails that were sent to some media houses soon after the blasts, the Indian Mujahideen, an organisation that had not been heard of until then, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

All 49 convicts were Muslims hail from different states in India. This was the highest number of convicts to be sentenced to death in a single case in India’s legal history.