SC issues notice to GoI, Gujarat Govt over release of 11 convicts in Bilkis Bano case

A screen grab of the video shows the eleven convicts being felicitated, as Hindu men touch their feet, offer sweets, and conducted a tilak ceremony in Gujarat.

New Delhi: The supreme court of India on Thursday issued notice to the Government of India and the Gujarat government on a plea challenging the release of 11 convicts in the 2002 case of Bilkis Bano’s gangrape and murder of her family members.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana asked the petitioners to implead all 11 who have been granted remission as parties in the matter, news agency PTI reported.

The bench, also comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi and Vikram Nath, posted the matter for hearing after two weeks.

Bilkis Bano was 21 years old and five months pregnant when she was gang-raped while fleeing the violence that broke out after the Godhra train burning in 2002. Her three-year-old daughter was among the seven killed.

The 11 men convicted in the case walked out of the Godhra sub-jail on August 15 after the Gujarat government allowed their release under its remission policy. They had completed more than 15 years in jail.

The plea in the apex court has been filed by CPI(M) leader Subhashini Ali, journalist Revathy Laul, and activist Roop Rekha Rani.

Deliberating on the issue that has led to a huge debate on the issue of relief in such heinous cases, the court said the question is whether there was the application of mind while considering the issue of remission and whether it was within the parameters of the law, the news agency report said.

“Day in and day out, those who are convicted and complete their sentence, they are eligible for remission. What is the exception?” the bench observed as per the news agency report. Is that sufficient to say they are not entitled for remission, it asked.


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