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This article was first published 1 year ago  » News » Bilkis case: SC rejects plea seeking early setting-up of bench

Bilkis case: SC rejects plea seeking early setting-up of bench

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: December 14, 2022 18:26 IST
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain submissions seeking the early setting up of a fresh bench to hear Bilkis Bano's plea challenging the remission of sentence of 11 convicts by the Gujarat government in her gangrape case.

IMAGE: Bilkis Bano. Photograph: Rahul Singh/ANI Photo

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha was urged by lawyer Shobha Gupta, appearing for Bano, that another bench should be constituted to hear the case.

"The writ (petition) will be listed. Please, do not keep mentioning the same thing again and again. It is very irritating," the CJI said.


The lawyer said that though the petition was listed Tuesday, it was not taken up for hearing.

"It will be listed. The review (plea) was also circulated yesterday," the CJI said.

Meanwhile, Supreme Court judge Bela M Trivedi on Tuesday recused herself from hearing a plea filed by Bano.

"List the matter before a bench in which one of us is not a member," the bench headed by Justice Rastogi ordered without specifying any reason for the recusal of Justice Trivedi.

Bano's lawyer had said her only predicament was that winter vacation of the court is approaching and she wanted the matter to be heard at an earlier date.

The CJI will now have to set up a fresh bench, to which Justice Trivedi will not be a part, to hear Bano's case.

Bano has also filed a separate plea seeking a review of the apex court's May 13 order on a petition by a convict in which it had asked the Gujarat government to consider premature release of the convicts in terms of its policy of July 9, 1992 about deciding a remission petition within a period of two months.

The review plea was also listed for consideration before a bench of justices Rastogi and Vikram Nath on Tuesday. The order on the review plea is yet to be uploaded.

In her writ petition against the grant of remission, which had led to the release of 11 convicts on August 15, Bano said the state government passed a mechanical order completely ignoring the requirement of law as laid down by the Supreme Court.

"The en masse 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 said in the plea.

Referring to the past verdicts of the top court, the petition said en masse remissions are not permissible and, moreover, such a relief cannot be sought or granted as a matter of right without examining the case of each convict individually based on their peculiar facts and the role played by them in the crime.

"The present writ petition challenging the decision of the state/central government granting remission to all the 11 convicts and releasing them prematurely in one of the most gruesome crimes of extreme inhuman violence and brutality by a group of human beings upon another group of human beings, all helpless and innocent people - most of them were either women or minors, by chasing them for days together persuaded by hate towards a particular community," it said.

The plea, which gave minute details of the crime, said Bilkis and her grown-up daughters were shell-shocked with this sudden development.

"The decision of the government came as a shock to the citizens, nationally and internationally, and the society across segments showed anger, disappointment, and distrust and protested the clemency shown by the government.

"When the nation was celebrating its 76th Independence Day, all the convicts were released prematurely and were garlanded and felicitated in full public glare and sweets were circulated and this is how the present petitioner along with the entire nation and the whole world came to know about the shocking news of premature release of all the convicts (respondents no. 3-13) of one of the most gruesome crime this country has ever seen of multiple time gang rape of a pregnant woman," it said.

It referred to wide public protest in many cities, on all social media platforms and news channels, portals.

It was also reported heavily that Muslims of the area started fleeing away from Rahimabad in fear after the release of these 11 convicts, the plea claimed.

The top court is already hearing PILs filed by CPI-M leader Subhashini Ali, independent journalist Revati Laul, former vice chancellor of Lucknow University Roop Rekha Verma, and TMC MP Mahua Moitra against the release of the convicts.

Bano was 21 years old and five months pregnant when she was gangraped while fleeing the riots that broke out after the Godhra train burning incident. Her three-year-old daughter was among the seven family members killed.

The investigation in the case was handed over to the CBI and the trial was transferred to a Maharashtra court by the Supreme Court.

A special CBI court in Mumbai had on January 21, 2008, sentenced the 11 to life imprisonment.

Their conviction was later upheld by the Bombay high court and the Supreme Court.

The 11 men convicted in the case walked out of the Godhra sub-jail on August 15 after the Gujarat government allowed their release under its remission policy. They had completed more than 15 years in jail.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.