Court documents show that this large number is made up mainly of the record 38 convicts ordered to be hanged by a special court in February over the 2008 serial blasts case. The rest involve rape and murder. The victims were minor girls. The tally of death sentences this year in Gujarat equals the total number handed down by the state’s courts over the previous 15 years. Till 2022, the highest number of these sentences was 13 in 2011, when most convicts of the 2002 Godhra train carnage case got the capital punishment.
Of the 50 persons condemned to death by trial courts between 2006 and 2021 for the rarest of rare crimes, the HC has upheld the maximum punishment in the cases of four.
In December 2019, the HC confirmed the capital punishment for Anil Yadav from Surat for the rape and murder of a three-year-old girl. In 2010, the HC upheld the death penalty for Adam Ajmeri, Mufri Abdul Kayum Mansuri, and Shanmiya alias Chand Khan in the Akshardham temple attack case of 2002. However, all three were acquitted by the Supreme Court in 2014.
On whether the high number of death sentences in such a short period can provide any insight into society, a former principal sessions judge of Ahmedabad, Jyotsna Yagnik, said: “This is an individual perspective of a particular judge. If judges come to the conclusion that the offence is ghastly and society should get a message, they will give the death penalty.”