Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Bilkis Bano case: SC to hear pleas against release of convicts on Nov 29

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday scheduled a hearing on November 29 for petitions challenging the Gujarat government’s decision to grant remission to the 11 convicts who gang-raped Bilkis Bano and murdered her family members during the 2002 Godhra riots.

A bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and CT Ravikumar granted the petitioners who challenged the remission order time to respond to the Gujarat government’s affidavit. During the hearing, the bench informed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the Gujarat government’s affidavit is very long.

“It is a very big reply… So many judgments in a reply. Where is the factual statement? Where is the application of mind?” the bench remarked.

The bench asked the State government to supply a copy of the affidavit to the petitioners and posted it for hearing on November 29.

Gujarat government on Monday defended before the Supreme Court its decision to grant remission to the 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case saying remission was granted as they completed 14 years sentence in prison and their “behaviour was found to be good”.

The state government stated that it considered the cases of all 11 prisoners in accordance with the 1992 policy, and that remission was granted on August 10, 2022, and that the Central government also approved the early release of convicts.

It is worth noting that the remission was not granted in accordance with the circular governing the grant of remission to prisoners in conjunction with the celebration of “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav,” as stated.

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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