SC Notice to Centre, Gujarat Govt on Bilkis Bano’s Plea Against Remission to Convicts

The Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from the Centre, Gujarat government and others on a plea filed by Bilkis Bano, who was gang-raped and seven members of her family were killed during the 2002 post-Godhra riots.

Bano has challenged remission of sentence of 11 convicts in the case.

While posting the matter for hearing on April 18, a bench of Justices K M Joseph and B V Nagarathna said there is a gamut of issues involved and it needs to hear the matter in detail.

The top court issued a notice to the Centre, the Gujarat government and the convicts.

It also directed the Gujarat government to be ready with the relevant files granting remission to the parties on the next date of the hearing.

During the hearing, the bench observed that it would not be overwhelmed by emotions in the case and would only go by the law.

On January 4, a bench comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi and Bela M Trivedi took up the petition filed by Bano and other pleas. However, Justice Trivedi recused from hearing the case without citing any reason.

Bano had moved the apex court on November 30 last year challenging the “premature” release of 11 lifers by the state government, saying it has “shaken the conscience of society”.

Besides the plea challenging the release of the convicts, the gang-rape survivor had also filed a separate petition seeking a review of the apex court’s May 13, 2022, order on a plea by a convict. The review plea was later dismissed in December last year.

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

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