SC Adjourns Bilkis Bano Case Hearing till 29 Nov; Says Gujarat Govt’s Counter ‘Very Bulky’ & ‘Voluminous’

Supreme Court LAW INSIDER

Savvy Thakur

Published on: October 19, 2022 at 11:53 IST

The Supreme Court on Tuesday postponed until November 29 the hearing on petitions contesting the acquittal of the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case because the petitioners wanted more time to respond to the affidavit submitted by the Gujarat government.

The bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and CT Ravikumar granted the request for further time and also informed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the counter-affidavit submitted by the state of Gujarat is “extremely bulky” and “voluminous.”

A “series of judgements have been quoted” in the counter-affidavit.

We cannot locate the factual statement or the application of mind in so many judgements, according to Justice Rastogi.

The Gujarat government claimed in an affidavit submitted on Monday that it had decided to free the 11 criminals because they had “finished 14 years and above in prison…(that) their behaviour was judged to be good,” and that the Centre had also “conveyed (its) concurrence/approval.”

According to the petitioners, the remission was given without the Centre’s approval.

In their plea, Ali and the two petitioners stated that the case was investigated by CBI and “accordingly, grant of remission solely by the competent authority of a state government/ state of Gujarat…without any consultation with the Central government…is impermissible in terms of the mandate of Section 435 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973”.

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