Kochi, Jan 23 (UNI) The Kerala High Court today granted bail to 28 accused in the 2003 Marad massacre case, in view of the delay in trial.
Justice R Bhasant, however, also imposed stringent conditions while granting bail.
The judge said in his order ''I grant bail to the accused for the simple reason that the Constitutional ideal of speedy justice was not observed in the facts of this case.
''Exceptional are the facts, gruesome is the offence, shocking is the crime alleged, but all this cannot detract against the ideal of speedy trial, to which even the worst offender is entitled'', he said.
The court also held that though the state government counsel had contended that there was possibility of communal disharmony, no specifics were given.
The court directed the petitioners to execute bonds of Rs 2 lakh each with three solvent sureties for the like sum. It further directed that one of the sureties shall be a blood relative of the petitioner.
Further, the petitioners shall reside within 3 km from the trial court. One of the sureties shall bring the petitioners to the trial court. They shall not travel to any other place other than to court and vice-versa.
They will meet only their close relatives and counsel. One of the sureties shall always accompany the accused.
The court also empowered the state to have surveillance on the petitioners. It further stated that the order of bail releasing them shall be implemented on or after February 6 so as to enable the state to take all neccesary steps.
Nine people were killed in the communal killings in Marad in north Kerala in 2003.
UNI XR/ARC AM HT1934