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SC assures early hearing in 2002 Gujarat riots victim Bilkis Bano plea against release of 11 convicts

All 11 convicts were granted remission by the Gujarat government and released on August 15, 2022.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Tuesday assured 2002 Gujarat riots gangrape victim Bilkis Bano that a new bench will be constituted to hear her challenge the premature release of 11 convicts in a case involving her gangrape and murder of her seven family members including her three years old daughter.

Heading a bench also comprising Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala, Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said: “I will do so at the earliest. The matter will be listed soon.”

The assurance from Chief Justice came after a mention by Blkis Bano’s advocate Shobha Gupta seeking constitution of a new bench and an early hearing of the matter.

Earlier on January 4, the hearing could not take place as Justice Bela M Trivedi recused herself from hearing it.

Besides the plea challenging the pre-mature release of 11 convicts, the gang-rape survivor had also filed a separate petition seeking a review of the apex court’s May 13, 2022 order on a plea by a convict.

In the second instance, the review plea was rejected in December last year.

In its May 13, 2022 order, the apex court had asked the state government to consider the plea of a convict for premature release in terms of its policy of July 9, 1992 which was applicable on the date of conviction and decide it within a period of two months.

All 11 convicts were granted remission by the Gujarat government and released on August 15, 2022.

The victim, in her plea, has said the state government passed a “mechanical order” completely ignoring the requirement of law as laid down by the Supreme Court.

“The premature release of the convicts in the much talked about case of Bilkis Bano has shaken the conscience of the society and resulted in a number of agitations across the country,” she has said in the plea.