Supreme Court's Special Bench To Hear Bilkis Bano's Plea Challenging Remission Granted To Convicts By Gujarat Govt
The Supreme Court today has agreed to constitute a special bench to hear the writ petition filed by Bilkis Bano against the remission granted to the convicts in the rape-murder case by the Gujarat government. Several women activists and social organizations have filed similar pleas before the Apex Court challenging the order of remission.
“I will have a bench constituted. Will look at it this evening," said a Bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud and comprising Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala when Advocate-on-Record Shobha Gupta mentioned the matter for urgent listing before the Court.
On December 13, 2022, Justice Bela M Trivedi recused from hearing the writ plea filed by Bilkis Bano. The Court said that the writ petition may be listed before a Bench of which Justice Bela M Trivedi is not a member.
In her plea against the grant of remission which had led to the release of the convicts on August 15, Bilkis Bano has said the state government passed a mechanical order completely ignoring the requirement of law as laid down by the Supreme Court.
Bilkis Bano was 21 years old and five months pregnant when she was gang-raped while fleeing the riots that broke out after the Godhra train burning incident. Her three-year-old daughter was among the seven family members killed.
The investigation in the case was handed over to the CBI and the trial was transferred to a Maharashtra court by the Supreme Court. A special CBI court in Mumbai had on January 21, 2008 sentenced the 11 to life imprisonment. Their conviction was later upheld by the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court.
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.
On December 13, last year a Bench of Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice Vikram Nath rejected the plea filed by Bilkis Bano against the Court's earlier decision allowing the Gujarat Government to consider remission of her rape-murder convicts.
The victim had approached the Court seeking for review of its judgment dated May 13, 2022, whereby the plea of the convict was allowed by the Supreme Court directing the State of Gujarat to consider his application for premature release within two months.