Remission of 11 convicts in Bilkis Bano case: SC issues notice to Gujarat govt

The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a petition challenging the remission of 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case.

It issued a notice to the Gujarat BJP government to file its response in the matter and asked the petitioners to make the 11 convicts party to the case.

The matter will be taken up for hearing again after two weeks.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice Vikram Nath however posed a query with respect to the legal bar on grant of remission to the convicts, Live Law reported.

“Merely because the act was horrific, is that sufficient to say remission is wrong?” Justice Rastogi asked Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for the petitioners.

“Day in and day out remission is granted to convicts of life sentence, what is the exception (in this case),” he further asked.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by CPI (M) MP Subhasini Ali, journalist Revati Laul & Prof Roop Rekha Verma.

The remission has triggered widespread condemnation from civil groups, especially Muslims.

The Gujarat government on August 15 released 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano murder and gangrape case of 2002 under its remission and premature release policy after one of the convicts, Radheshyam Shah, moved the Supreme Court.

The 11 Hindu men were convicted in 2008 by a sessions court in Mumbai for gang rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of 14 of her family members, including her three-year-old daughter during the 2002 Gujarat Muslim genocide.