New Delhi: The Supreme Court will on Monday hear Bilkis Bano’s plea challenging the premature release of 11 convicts who had gangraped her and killed seven members of her family, including her three-year old daughter, during the riots that followed the Godhra train burning incident of 2002.
The matter has been listed before a bench of Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna.
The development comes in the wake of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud assuring Bilkis Bano's advocate Shobha Gupta on March 22 that he would constitute a bench to hear the case.
The matter was earlier listed before a bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Bela M. Trivedi but Justice Trivedi recused from hearing it on January 4, 2023.
Bilkis Bano had filed a petition against premature release of the convicts
Bilkis Bano had filed a petition against premature release of the convicts as well as a review petition seeking the recall of the top court’s May 13, 2022, order directing the Gujarat government to consider the plea for remission of one of the convicts.
Challenging the grant of remission to the 11 convicts, Bilkis Bano has said that though she is a victim of the crime she had no clue about any such process of remission or premature release being initiated.
National Federation of Indian Women general secretary Annie Raja, Communist Party of India (Marxist) member Subhashini Ali, journalist Revati Laul, social activist and professor Roop Rekha Verma, and TMC MP Mahua Moitra had also approached the top court seeking revocation of the order for premature release.
“Behaviour” was found to be good
The Gujarat government has in its affidavit defended the remission granted to convicts saying they completed 14 years of imprisonment and that their “behaviour” was found to be good. The state government said that it had secured “suitable orders” for grant of remission to the convicts from the Centre.
The Gujarat government stated that it had considered the case of the 11 convicts who had been sentenced to life imprisonment in line with its July 9, 1992, policy and granted remission on August 10, 2022.
The 11 convicts were released on August 15, 2022, after the remission of the sentences.
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