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Business News/ News / India/  Make convicts party in plea with Gujarat govt: CJI on Bilkis Bano case

Supreme Court on Thursday sought response from the Gujarat government on a plea challenging the remission granted to 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case during the 2002 Gujarat riots. The top court also issued notice to the Gujarat government and posts the matter for hearing after two weeks.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana issued notice to the Centre and the state government on the plea and asked the petitioners to implead those who have been granted remission as parties in the matter. 

“Under Gujarat rules, are the convicts entitled to remission or not? We've to see whether there was application of mind in this case while granting remission," the apex court asked. 

During the hearing today, the court asked the petitioners to make the convicts party in the plea along with the Gujarat government.

The Gujarat government on August 15 released 11 convicts who had been sentenced to life imprisonment in the Bilkis Bano gang rape and murder case.

The convicts were released after the state government panel approved their application for remission of sentence under a remission policy prevalent in Gujarat at the time of their conviction in 2008.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana took note of the submissions of senior advocate Kapil Sibal and lawyer Aparna Bhat against the grant of remission and consequent release of the convicts in the case.

“We are only challenging the remission and not the Supreme Court order. The Supreme Court order is fine, My Lords. We are challenging the principles on the basis of which remission was granted," Sibal said.

Earlier on August 19, Telangana MLC K Kavitha wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India urging the Supreme Court to intervene in the matter of the release of 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano rape case under the remission policy of the Gujarat government.

The apex court had earlier asked the Gujarat government to consider the plea of remission.

Bilkis Bano, who was pregnant at the time, was gang-raped and her three-year-old daughter Saleha was among 14 killed by a mob on March 3, 2002, in Dahod during violence that broke out across the state after the Sabarmati Express was attacked in Godhra and 59 passengers, mainly 'kar sewaks', were burnt to death.

A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Mumbai on January 21, 2008, sentenced the 11 to life imprisonment on charges of gangrape and murder of seven members of Bano's family. Their conviction was later upheld by the Bombay High Court.

And, on August 15, India's Independence Day celebration, all 11 convicts walked out of the Godhra sub-jail under its remission policy. They had completed more than 15 years in jail.











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Updated: 25 Aug 2022, 01:16 PM IST
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