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Home » Business » SC holds as maintainable PILs challenging remission granted to convicts – India TV

SC holds as maintainable PILs challenging remission granted to convicts – India TV

Bilkis Bano, SC on Bilkis Bano case
Image Source : ANI Bilkis Bano

Bilkis Bano case: The Supreme Court today (January 8) quashed the Gujarat government’s decision to grant remission to 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case and the murder of seven of her family members during the 2002 Gujarat riots. 

Holding the petition challenging the remission as maintainable, a bench of Justices B V Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan said the Gujarat government was not the appropriate government to pass the remission order.

Here’s what SC said on Bilkis Bano case

The top court held that the State of Gujarat was not competent to pass the remission orders. “Govt of the State where the offender is sentenced is the appropriate government to grant remission, not the govt of the state where the offence took place,” the court said.

The court said that one of the convicts who had moved to the Supreme Court and no other convicts had moved SC or HC to consider a premature release plea. “We hold that the writ proceeding before this court was due to suppression of facts and that is why it is fraud played on this court. Thus we hold that May 13, 2022. order (which directed the Gujarat government to consider remission of convict) was non-est and invalid in law and hit by fraud,” it said.

The convict didn’t disclose the right facts in the top court and the decision was held by fraud. “We have held that the May 13, 2022, order of the Supreme Court was contrary to all earlier judgments of this court. Thus the decision of the Supreme Court was per incuriam. if a decision is per incuriam then it cannot be said to be a good law even if not overruled,” the court said.

The apex court also directed all the 11 convicts in Bilkis Bano case to surrender before jail authorities within two weeks.

A bench of Justices B V Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan had on October 12, 2023, reserved its verdict after an 11-day hearing on the petitions, including the one filed by Bano. 

While reserving the judgement, the apex court had directed the central as well as Gujarat governments to submit original records related to the remission of the sentence of 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case by October 16. 

Gujarat govt released 11 convicts

The Gujarat government released the 11 convicts, who were sentenced to life imprisonment, on August 15, 2022. All the convicts in the case were released as per the remission policy prevalent in Gujarat at the time of their conviction in 2008.

In addition to Bano’s petition challenging the remission to convicts, a number of other PILs have also challenged the relief, including one from CPI(M) leader Subhashini Ali, independent journalist Revati Laul, and former vice-chancellor of Lucknow University Roop Rekha Verma. TMC MP Mahua Moitra has also filed a PIL against the remission granted to the convicts and their premature release.

Bilkis Bano case

In March 2002 during the Godhra riots, Bano was allegedly gang-raped and left to die with 14 members of her family, including her three-year-old daughter. She was 21 years old and five months pregnant when she was gang-raped while fleeing the horror of the communal riots in Vadodara. 

Bilkis Bano and others had approached the top court challenging the premature release of 11 convicts. Some PILs were filed seeking directions to revoke the remission granted to 11 convicts. Earlier, the Gujarat government in its affidavit had defended remission granted to convicts saying they completed 14 years of sentence in prison and their “behaviour was found to be good”.

Also Read: Bilkis Bano case: Supreme Court reserves order on pleas challenging remission of 11 convicts | DETAILS

Also Read: Bilkis Bano case: What Supreme Court said after observing one of the convicts was practicing law

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