The Trial and Conviction of Nathuram Godse: A Recap

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January 30, 2024

The Trial and Conviction of Nathuram Godse: A Recap

• The trial of Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, unfolded in the aftermath of the tragic event that occurred on January 30, 1948. This article provides an overview of Godse’s trial, from the proceedings in the special court to the final verdict and appeals.
The Trial Commences
• In May 1948, a special court was established at Delhi’s Red Fort to conduct the trial of Nathuram Godse and his co-accused, including Narayan Apte and Vinayak Savarkar. The trial, presided over by Special Judge Atma Charan, witnessed the prosecution led by CK Daphtary, the Advocate General of Bombay.
Legal Proceedings
• During the trial, which extended from June to November 1948, 149 witnesses were examined, and extensive documentary and material evidence was presented. Notably, Digambar Badge emerged as a crucial witness, admitting his involvement in the conspiracy during the proceedings.
Verdict and Appeals
• On February 10, 1949, Judge Atma Charan pronounced the judgment, convicting Godse, Apte, and five others. Both Godse and Apte were sentenced to death, while Savarkar was acquitted. The convicts had the option to file an appeal, and four days later, they submitted their appeals to the Punjab High Court.
Godse’s Unwavering Stance
• During the appeal hearings, Godse, refusing legal representation, argued his case personally. His unrepentant stance stood out, as he utilized the opportunity to project himself as a fearless patriot and a fervent supporter of Hindu ideology.
Final Verdict and Consequences
• The Bench, comprising Justice Khosla, Justice Bhandari, and Justice Achhru Ram, confirmed the lower court’s findings and sentences on June 21, 1949. Despite attempts to seek special leave to appeal to the Privy Council, the highest court during British rule, the petition was rejected. Consequently, Godse and Apte were hanged on November 15, 1949, in Ambala jail.
• The trial and subsequent events surrounding Nathuram Godse’s conviction marked a critical chapter in Indian history, reflecting the legal processes and the unyielding stance of the accused. The legacy of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination continues to be a poignant reminder of the challenges faced in the pursuit of justice.

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