National Politics

Bilkis Bano Case: SC Says Matter Of Premature Release Of 11 Convicts Will Be Listed, Don’t Repeat

Bilkis Bano

The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to mention by Bilkis Bano’s lawyer seeking urgent listing of her plea challenging the premature release of 11 convicts

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to mention by Bilkis Bano‘s lawyer seeking urgent listing of her plea challenging the premature release of 11 convicts, who had gang raped her and murdered her family members during the 2002 Godhra riots.

A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and PS Narasimha was told by Bano’s advocate Shobha Gupta that the petition was listed on Tuesday but not taken up.
“Writ petition will be listed. Don’t keep mentioning the same thing again and again. It will be listed,” the bench said.

Justice Bela M Trivedi on Tuesday recused herself from hearing the plea filed by Bilkis Bano. A bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Bela M Trivedi said the matter be posted before another bench.
Besides filing a petition against the premature release of convicts, Bano has also filed a review petition on its earlier order by which it had asked the Gujarat government to consider the plea for the remission of one of the convicts.

The review petition was also listed for hearing on Tuesday before Justice Rastogi in his chamber. As per procedures, review pleas against top court judgments are decided in chambers by circulation by the judges who were part of the judgment under review.
Bano’s review plea is against the top court’s May order which allowed the Gujarat government to apply the 1992 Remission Rules.

Bano said despite being the victim of the crime, she had no clue about any such process of remission or premature release being initiated.
Gujarat’s remission order is a mechanical order of remission by completely ignoring the law requirement as consistently laid down, the plea said.

Earlier, some PILs were filed seeking directions to revoke the remission granted to 11 convicts. The pleas were filed by the National Federation of Indian Women, whose General Secretary is Annie Raja, Member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Subhashini Ali, journalist Revati Laul, social activist and professor Roop Rekha Verma, and TMC MP Mahua Moitra.

Gujarat government in its affidavit had defended remission granted to convicts saying they completed 14 years of sentence in prison and their “behaviour was found to be good”.
The State government said it has considered the cases of all 11 convicts as per the policy of 1992 and remission was granted on August 10, 2022, and the Central government also approved the premature release of convicts.

It is pertinent to note that the remission was not granted under the circular governing grant of remission to prisoners as part of the celebration of “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav”, it has said.
The affidavit stated, “State government considered all the opinions and decided to release 11 prisoners since they have completed 14 years and above in prisons and their behaviour was found to be good.”

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The government had also questioned the locus standi of petitioners who filed the PIL challenging the decision saying they are outsiders to the case.

The pleas said they have challenged the order of competent authority of the government of Gujarat by way of which 11 persons who were accused in a set of heinous offences committed in Gujarat were allowed to walk free on August 15, 2022, pursuant to remission being extended to them.

The remission in this heinous case would be entirely against public interest and would shock the collective public conscience, as also be entirely against the interests of the victim (whose family has publicly made statements worrying for her safety), pleas stated.

In March 2002 during the post-Godhra riots, Bano was allegedly gang-raped and left to die with 14 members of her family, including her three-year-old daughter. She was five months pregnant when rioters attacked her family in Vadodara.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by HW News staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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