Follow Us:

Bilkis Bano case: SC seeks response from Gujarat govt on plea against release of 11 convicts

Issuing notice to Gujarat government, a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) N V Ramana, justices Ajay Rastogi and Vikram Nath sought state’s reply and posted the matter for hearing after two weeks.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Thursday sought response from the Gujarat government on a plea challenging the state government’s decision granting remission to 11 life-term convicts and their early release from jail in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case.
Issuing notice to Gujarat government, a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) N V Ramana, justices Ajay Rastogi and Vikram Nath sought state’s reply and posted the matter for hearing after two weeks.
On 15 August, the convicts walked free from Godhra jail following the remission granted to them by the state government. Generally, the state government has the power to consider release of a life convict after he spends at least 14 years in jail.
Being aggrieved with the manner in which the state has taken the step, CPI (M) leader Suhasini Ali, film maker Revati Laul and former Philosophy Professor and Activist Roop Rekh Verma have approached the Supreme Court.
When the matter was taken up, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the petitioners, presented some facts of the case and the gravity of the offence committed by the convicts.
Then, Justice Ramana clarified that “somewhere, I have read that the court had granted permission for remission which is not there in the order…”
At the outset, Justice Rastogi also asked the counsel that “because the incident was horrific, is that a sufficient ground to say remission is wrong ?”
In May 2022 , the bench of justices Rastogi and Vikarma Nath had left it to the domain of Guajarat government to consider in accordance with law an application of Radheshyam Bhagwandas Shah, one of the convicts, for grant of remission .
Appearing for the convicts advocate Rishi Malhotra questioned the locus of petitioners terming them as “third party” in the case and brought to court’s notice that his clients were not made as party in the petition.
CJI asked the petitioners’ counsel to implead them as respondents in the matter.
The incident happened in 2002 following the communal riot in Gujarat in 2002. Bilkis Bano, who was in her advanced stage of pregnancy, was gangraped at her house and 14 of her family members were killed.
Later, the investigation was transferred to CBI and the Apex Court had also shifted the trial, against 11 persons, from Gujarat to a court in Maharashtra. In 2008, the Special CBI Court in Mumbai had convicted them and sentenced them to life imprisonment.