Bilkis Bano case: SC to deliver verdict on pleas against remission granted to convicts on Monday

The Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce on Monday its verdict on the petitions challenging the remission granted to 11 convicts in the case of gangrape of Bilkis Bano and murder of seven of her family members during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

A bench of Justices B V Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan had on October 12 last year reserved its verdict after an 11-day hearing on the petitions, including the one filed by Bano.

While reserving the judgement, the apex court had directed the Centre and the Gujarat government to submit by October 16 the original records related to the remission of sentence of the 11 convicts.

While hearing the matter in September last year, the top court had asked whether convicts have a fundamental right to seek remission.

During the earlier arguments, the apex court had observed that state governments should not be selective in granting remission to convicts and the opportunity to reform and reintegrate with society should extend to every prisoner.

Besides the petition filed by Bano contesting the remission granted to them by the Gujarat government, several other PILs, including one by CPI(M) leader Subhashini Ali, independent journalist Revati Laul and former vice-chancellor of Lucknow University Roop Rekha Verma, have challenged the relief.

TMC leader Mahua Moitra has also filed a PIL against the remission and their premature release.

Bilkis Bano was 21 years old and five months pregnant when she was gang-raped while fleeing the horror of the communal riots that broke out after the Godhra train-burning incident. Her three-year-old daughter was among the seven family members killed in the riots.

All 11 convicts were granted remission by the Gujarat government and released on August 15, 2022.

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