Published on: 25th August, 2022 at 21:24 IST
The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice to the Gujarat government, seeking response of its remission decision of 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case. The court sought a response while hearing a plea challenging the Government’s decision.
The notice was issued by the bench of CJI NV Ramana and Justices Ajay Rastogi and Vikram Nath, who issued notice to the State. The bench has also ordered that the eleven convicts be impleaded as parties in the concerned matter. The SC also confirmed that, “We direct the 11 convicts to be impleaded in the case.”
This was agreed by counsel Kapil Sibbal.
The Court would consider whether convicts can be entitled to be remitted as per the Gujarat Rules or not. Also, whether such remission has been made with application or mind.
In today’s hearing, Justice Rastogi said :
“We have to see whether there was application of mind in this case while granting remission. Merely because the act was horrific, is that sufficient to say remission is wrong?”
The bench also said that remissions are granted in several matters, so, why is thus matter being considered an exception.
The counsel in the appeal narrated the horrific nature of the crimes committed by the convicts during the 2002 riots. Also, the bench asked the counsel to argue on the plea within the application of the remission matter only, since the conviction has already been done .
“We are only concerned if remission was in the parameters of law.”
About The Case:
Bilkis Bano was raped and her family members murdered during the 2002 Gujarat Riots. After she approached the National Human Rights Commission, the apex court ordered for a CBI investigation in the matter. In 2004, the case was transferred to Maharashtra due to death threats to the victim.
In 2008, Special CBI court convicted 13 accused of rape and murder, who were sentenced to life imprisonment. The Bombay High court upheld the conviction in 2017, while in 2019, the Apex court ordered Gujarat Government for due compensation to the victim of Rs.50 lakhs, accommodation, government job.
A petition challenging the recent remission before the top court was moved by a CPI(M) leader, an independent journalist and filmmaker Revati Laul and activist Roop Rekh Varma. It quoted:
“Even in Limkheda village of Dahod district, arson, looting and violence took place. Bano and Shamin with others were escaping. Shamim delivered a child.. 3-year-old child head was smashed to the ground, pregnant was raped.”
While the government of Gujarat submitted that the main grounds of remission were age factors, “completion of 14 years” in jail, and nature of the crime and behaviour in prison.
After today’s hearing, the court has directed the Gujarat Government to file its response. The court had listed the matter to be heard after two weeks.