New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to hear on Wednesday the locus standi of multiple people filing PILs in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case and the murder of seven of her family members during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Besides the petition filed by Bilkis Bano, several other PILs including those from Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, CPI(M) leader Subhashini Ali, independent journalist Revati Laul and former vice-chancellor of Lucknow University Roop Rekha Verma have challenged the remission.
SC to hear preliminary objection
Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, appearing for one of the convicts, told a bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan that once the victim is in the court, others may not have a locus standi to intervene.
"We have heard counsel for the parties. The other writ petitions are in nature of PILs. A preliminary objection has been raised with respect to the maintainability of the PILs. In order to hear the preliminary objection, list the matter tomorrow at 3 pm," the bench said.
On April 18, the top court questioned the Gujarat government over the remission granted to the 11 convicts, saying the gravity of the offence should have been considered before showing leniency, and wondered if there was any application of mind. All of them had walked free on August 15, 2022.
Bilkis Bano gangrape 'horrendous' act, says SC
Asking for reasons for the premature release of the convicts, the top court had also questioned frequent parole granted to them during their incarceration. "It (remission) is a kind of grace, which should be proportional to the crime," it had said.
Terming Bano's gangrape and the murder of her family members a "horrendous" act, the apex court had on March 27 asked the Gujarat government whether uniform standards, as followed in other murder cases, were applied while granting remission to the convicts.
Bano was 21 at the time of riots and five months pregnant. She was gangraped 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.