Bilkis Bano case: SC agrees to hear PIL challenging remission granted to 11 convictstext_fields
The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed agreed to examine a plea that challenged the remission granted to the 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana has agreed to hear the plea.
The plea was filed by Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Subhashini Ali, journalist Revati Laul, and social activist Roop Rekha Verma. In their plea, the trio said that the Supreme Court should direct the Gujarat government to reconsider the remission, adding that they are challenging only the remission and the order of Supreme Court.
The bench took note of the submissions of senior advocate Kapil Sibal and lawyer Aparna Bhat against the grant of remission and consequent release of the convicts in the case.
"We are only challenging the remission and not the Supreme Court order. The Supreme Court order is fine, My Lords. We are challenging the principles on the basis of which remission was granted," Sibal told the bench, as reported by news agency PTI.
The Gujarat government on August 15 released 11 convicts who had been sentenced to life imprisonment in the Bilkis Bano gang rape and murder case.
Bano, who was pregnant at the time, was gang-raped, and her three-year-old daughter Saleha and 13 others were killed by a mob on March 3, 2002, in Dahod during violence that broke out across the state after the Sabarmati Express was attacked in Godhra.
These convicts had served over 15 years in jail after which one of them approached the Supreme Court with a plea for his premature release. Later, the Gujarat government formed a panel to look into the issue following directions from the top court.
The convicts were released after the state government panel approved their application for remission of sentence under a remission policy prevalent in Gujarat at the time of their conviction in 2008.