Central Justice Prevails: Supreme Court Rejects Stay on Gujarat High Court’s Order in RTI Activist Murder Case

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The Supreme Court rejected a request to halt the implementation of the Gujarat High Court’s decision to suspend the life sentence of former BJP MP Dinubhai Boghabhai Solanki, who was convicted in the murder of RTI activist Amti Jethwa in July 2010. The bench, led by Justice A M Khanwilkar, dismissed the SLP filed by Jethwa’s father Bhikhalal Jethva, directing that the appeals pending before the High Court against the accused’s conviction be expedited and resolved by December 2022. Advocate Abhimanue Shreshtra, representing the petitioner, stated that he had brought certain observations in the High Court’s order to the attention of the Supreme Court, which the petitioner believed would impact the case’s merits. The bench, which also included Justice C T Ravikumar, assured that these observations would not affect the final decision in the case. In July 2019, a special CBI court sentenced Solanki and six others to life imprisonment in connection with the case. Solanki later requested the High Court to suspend the sentence while his appeal was ongoing, a request that was granted. The High Court noted that the conviction by the CBI court was based on assumptions and presumptions and was unsustainable. Bhikhalal Jethva appealed this decision, emphasizing that Solanki had been sentenced to life imprisonment and a fine of Rs 15 lakh, and that the High Court did not consider the time already spent in custody by the accused. The appeal argued that the appellate court should only assess if there are significant flaws in the conviction order, rather than reassessing the evidence and reaching a different conclusion when considering a sentence suspension application.

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