Bilkis Bano case: SC to hear pleas against release of 11 rapists today

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

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear a batch of pleas on Monday challenging the release of 11 rapists who had gang-raped Bilkis Bano and murdered her family members during the 2002 Godhra violence, ANI reported.

The Gujarat government had granted remission to 11 rapists on August 10 last year following which they walked free on August 15, 2022.

A bench of Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna will hear the case on March 27.

On March 22, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said that he will constitute a bench to hear pleas. “I will have a bench constituted. Need to break two benches for it. Will look at it this evening,” he said after advocate Shobha Gupta, appearing for Bano, mentioned the plea for an early listing of the case.

Earlier also advocate Gupta mentioned the matter for urgent hearing and said that a new bench needs to be constituted by the CJI as Justice Bela M Trivedi recused from hearing the plea, the report said.

A bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Bela M Trivedi earlier had ordered that matter be listed before the bench, in which Justice Trivedi is not a part of as she had recused herself from hearing the case.

Besides filing a petition against the pre-mature release of convicts, Bano had also filed a review petition seeking a review of its earlier order by which it had asked the Gujarat government to consider the plea for the remission of one of the convicts.

The review petition was dismissed. Some PILs were filed seeking directions to revoke the remission granted to 11 rapists.

The pleas were filed by the National Federation of Indian Women, whose General Secretary is Annie Raja, Member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Subhashini Ali, journalist Revati Laul, social activist and professor Roop Rekha Verma and TMC MP Mahua Moitra.

Gujarat government in its affidavit had defended remission granted to rapists saying they completed 14 years of sentence in prison and their “behaviour was found to be good”.

The State government said it has considered the cases of all 11 rapists as per the policy of 1992 and remission was granted on August 10, 2022, and the government of India also approved the pre-mature release of rapists.

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