The Supreme Court dismissed review petition filed by Bilkis Bano, seeking review of its May 2022 judgment empowering the Gujarat Government to decide the remission of 11 convicts sentenced to life imprisonment for her gangrape and murder of her 7 family members during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The order decided in a chamber hearing is not yet uploaded on the Supreme Court's website.
Bilkis had challenged May 2022 ruling of the top court's Bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Vikram Nath that the Gujarat government has the jurisdiction to consider the remission request as the offence had taken place in Gujarat. Both are sitting judges of he Supreme Court.
The Bench asked the Gujarat government to decide within two weeks the application under the remission policy of 1992. The Gujarat High Court had earlier held that the remission has to be decided by the Maharashtra government since the trial as held in Mumbai on the transfer of the case from Gujarat.
Bilkis, through her Advocate, Shobha Gupta, had sought a review of the judgment by primarily contending that it was contrary to the clear language of Section 432(7)(b) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) that states that the appropriate government to decide remission is the government of the state where the trial was held.
The Supreme Court had passed the judgment on a writ petition by one of the convicts, setting aside the Gujarat High Court judgment that the Maharashtra government has to decide the remission. Bilkis contended grave procedural irregularity as the judgment cannot be set aside under Article 32 of the Constitution.
In her review petition, Bilkis contended that the convict had "cleverly suppressed" the fact that the case related to the Gujarat riots, nor was she made a party, nor her name was mentioned in the petition. She claimed the Apex Court was misled into passing the order.
Her another writ petition challenging the Gujarat Government for the premature release of the 11 convicts is pending. It was adjourned last week as Justice Bela Trivedi on the Bench recused herself from the hearing. She gave no reason for recusing herself from the case, but presumably it was because she had served the Gujarat Government as a law secretary on deputation during 2004-2006.
(If you have a story in and around Mumbai, you have our ears, be a citizen journalist and send us your story here. )