THE SUPREME Court on Friday gave the Gujarat government two weeks to file its response to petitions challenging the remission of sentence granted to 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case from the Gujarat riots of 2002.
Issuing notice to the state on a plea by Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, a bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and B V Nagarathna also asked the convicts, who were allowed to be impleaded in the matter, to file their response in two weeks.
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The counsel appearing for Gujarat said the state would submit all the details to the court.
On August 25, the Supreme Court had issued notice on another similar plea by CPI(M) leader Subhashini Ali, journalist Revati Laul and academician Roop Rekha Verma.
On Friday, Advocate Rishi Malhotra, appearing for some of the convicts in the case, said that though the court had allowed them to be made parties, the petitioners had done so only on Sunday and were yet to get notices.Also Read | Bilkis Bano case: Will Supreme Court restore constitutional morality?
The apex court subsequently issued notice to Malhotra, and asked if he could appear for the other convicts too. The counsel responded that he would take instructions on that.
On August 15, the Gujarat government had released the 11 convicts under its 1992 remission and premature release policy for life-term convicts after one of them, Radheshyam Shah, moved the Supreme Court.Advertisement More From Political Pulse
Shah, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment by a CBI court in Mumbai in 2008, had approached the Supreme Court stating that he had completed 15 years and four months in jail. Deciding his plea, the Supreme Court had ruled that although the trial in the case took place in Maharashtra, the Gujarat government would be the appropriate authority to decide on remission based on the 1992 policy.
Bilkis was gangraped and her three-year-old daughter Saleha was among 14 killed by a mob on March 3, 2002, in Limkheda taluka of Dahod district, during the post-Godhra riots. Bilkis was pregnant at the time.Also Read | Mahua Moitra writes: Our Bilkis moment
The state government cited a “unanimous” recommendation of the Jail Advisory Committee (JAC) to grant remission to the convicts on grounds of “good behaviour”.Advertisement
In their plea, Ali and the two other petitioners had said that the case was investigated by the CBI and “accordingly, grant of remission solely by the competent authority of a state government/ State of Gujarat…without any consultation with the Central Government…is impermissible in terms of the mandate of Section 435 of the CrPC, 1973”.
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They contended that “at a time when the” Centre “issued a special remission policy dated 15th August 2022, whereby remission on the occasion of 75 years of independence was granted to a class of convicts, persons convicted of rape and those sentenced to imprisonment for life were specifically excluded”.
“Accordingly, it would appear that the” Centre “endorses a policy decision qua non-grant of remission to persons similarly situated as the 11 convicts, and therefore it would not have granted permission to the State of Gujarat to remit the sentences of the 11 convicts, had it been consulted in the present matter”.Also ReadNarendra Modi Independence Day Speech Live Updates: India now identified ...Govt SOP for Judges: Do not name officials for court panelsPM Narendra Modi Independence Day speech full textChhattisgarh: 5 years after local news anchor went missing, her partner h...
They also raised questions on the composition of the competent authority, which granted the remission.© The Indian Express (P) Ltd