Bilkis Bano case: SC notice to Gujarat govt on plea against release of 11 convicts

The Supreme Court on Thursday sought a response from the Gujarat government on a plea challenging the release of 11 men convicted for the gang-rape of Bilkis Bano and multiple murders during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The top court clarified that it did not grant permission for remission to the convicts, instead it asked the government to consider.

A bench headed by Chief Justice and comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi and Vikram Nath said merely because the act was horrific, is that sufficient to say remission is wrong?

The Gujarat government released the convicts on Independence Day, which has created a huge political controversy.

Justice Rastogi asked senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the petitioners, “Day in and day out remission is granted to convicts of life sentence, what is the exception (in this matter)”. After hearing arguments, the top court issued notice to the Gujarat government.

The top court clarified that the May 2022 order merely held that the remission or premature release should be considered in terms of the policy which is applicable in the state where the crime was committed. “I read somewhere the court has granted permission for remission. No, the court said only to consider,” noted the bench.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by CPI-M MP Subhasini Ali, journalist Revati Laul and Prof Roop Rekha Verma.

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