SC Rejects Bail for Coimbatore Blast Convicts Citing Severity of Atrocity

LI Network

Published on: October 5, 2023 at 10:59 IST

In a significant ruling, the Supreme Court has declined to grant bail to the convicts involved in the 1998 Coimbatore serial bomb blasts case, emphasizing the heinous nature of the crime.

The bench, comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sudhanshu Dhulia, and C.T. Ravikumar, presided over the matter, which centered on the tragic incident that claimed the lives of 58 people and left over 200 others injured.

Characterizing the crime as “atrocious,” the bench firmly rejected the convicts’ plea for individual consideration of their sentences and categorically ruled out any possibility of bail.

Senior Advocate Salman Khurshid, representing the convicts, began by stating, “We have been in custody for the last 25 years.” In response, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul inquired, “How many people died?” Senior Advocate V. Giri, opposing the bail, replied, “58 people died.”

Justice Kaul further questioned, “What is the sentence imposed?” to which Giri responded, “Life sentence…24 blasts operation, and 250 persons were injured. Apart from the lives lost, what they have done to the city is unforgivable.”

While Senior Advocate R Basant, representing one of the convicts, attempted to persuade the Bench not to dismiss the bail pleas but to keep them pending for future consideration, Justice Kaul made it clear: “Bail is out of the question. All of us are unanimous that bail cannot be granted…You may be inside for 25 years, but 58 people lost their lives in this incident. That is reason enough for you to remain incarcerated.”

Justice Dhulia added, “Look at what you have done… The nature of the crime is an important factor.”

The bench pronounced, “Bail applications are dismissed. Let the matter be listed on the regular board in the first week of February.”


The Coimbatore serial bomb blasts of February 14, 1998, remain one of the most devastating terrorist attacks in Tamil Nadu’s history. The coordinated bombings occurred at multiple locations across the city, resulting in significant loss of life and property. Notably, these blasts targeted an election meeting that was to be addressed by L.K. Advani, the then president of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Out of the 166 accused in the case, the trial court, in August 2007, found 69 individuals guilty of various offenses. In December 2009, the Madras High Court upheld the convictions of 18 individuals, sentencing 17 to life imprisonment and one to a 13-year term.

The bench acquitted 22 people of all charges due to insufficient evidence. Many of the life-term convicts subsequently appealed to the Supreme Court.


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