The Supreme Court on Monday quashed the acquittal of 21 accused in the Best Bakery case and ordered its re-investigation and re-trial.
The judgment came from a bench comprising Justice Doraiswamy Raju and Justice Arijit Pasayat, which allowed two petitions - one by key witness Zahira Habibullah Sheikh and the other by the Gujarat government - challenging a high court order confirming the trial court verdict acquitting all those accused in the case.
Several people were burnt alive inside the Best Bakery in March 2002 by rioters.
Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Pasayat directed that as the trial was being transferred to the neighbouring state, a new public prosecutor would be appointed who would take necessary follow up action.
Setting aside the HC order, which also had passed severe strictures against some activists who had helped out the riot victims.
The Supreme Court in a separate judgment quashed the 'objectionable' remarks made against them.
The trial court had acquitted all the accused in the case saying the police had booked the wrong persons and adduced wrong evidence. The high court had upheld the verdict and rejected the state's plea for consideration of fresh evidence given by Zahira and others.
Zahira, who had retracted her statement during the trial, had later alleged that she was subjected to threats and coercion.