Saturday, October 1, 2022

Bilkis Bano case: SC notice to Gujarat govt on plea against remission of 11 convicts

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On a petition challenging state’s pardon of 11 prisoners who had gang-raped Bilkis Bano and killed her family members during the 2002 Godhra riots, Supreme Court on Thursday sent notice to Gujarat government.

Gujarat administration was contacted by a bench consisting of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justices Ajay Rastogi, and Vikram Nath, who also listed the matter for hearing after two weeks. Eleven prisoners were also urged to join the case as parties by the petitioners. During the hearing, Justice Rastogi made the observation that the issue at hand is whether or not the offenders are eligible for remission under Gujarat law, as well as whether remission was granted with due consideration for the circumstances of the case.

In its order, Supreme Court stated, “Send a notification. Save your response. We order the matter to be impleaded for the 11 convicted individuals.”

Members of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Subhashini Ali, writer Revati Laul, and social activist and academic Roop Rekha Verma submitted the petition to the Supreme Court.

In the petition, it was requested that the ruling mandating the prompt re-arrest of 11 offenders and awarding them remission be set aside.

As per the plea “It is argued that it would appear that the members of the Gujarati government’s responsible authority were both serving MLAs and members of a political party. It would thus seem that the competent authority was not a completely independent authority that could independently apply its mind to the relevant circumstances.”

Mahua Moitra, a member of the Trinamool Congress, has also petitioned the supreme court to stop the early release of 11 defendants in the Bilkis Bano case.

Three ladies said in their court filing that they were contesting the Gujarati government’s competent authority’s decision to provide remission to 11 people accused of a series of horrible crimes committed there, allowing them to go free on August 15, 2022.

According to the petition, CBI investigated the case that resulted in the conviction of the 11 convicts; as a result, the grant of remission by Gujarat government alone, without any consultation with the Central government, is unlawful under the provisions of Section 435 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

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