Supreme Court Will Hear Bilkis Bano On The Premature Release Of Her Rapists
NEW DELHI, (IANS) – The Supreme Court on March 27 will hear a petition filed by 2002 Gujarat riots victim Bilkis Bano against the premature release of 11 persons convicted of her gang-rape and murder of her family members, calling the offence “horrendous”.
A contention was made during the hearing in the matter that all the petitions against the release of 11 convicts were “emotional pleas”. However, the bench of Justices K.M. Joseph and B.V. Nagarathna said it is only on the law and has nothing to do with emotions. Noting that the crime against Bilkis Bano and her family was a horrendous one, the bench made it clear that the matter will be decided based on law.
After hearing detailed submissions, the top court scheduled the matter for further hearing on April 18.
Justice Joseph observed that the court has many murder cases before it, where convicts are languishing in jails for remission without years and queried if this is a case where standards have been applied uniformly as in other cases?
The bench asked the state government to be ready with the relevant files connected with granting remission to the convicts on the next date of hearing.
In the plea, Bilkis Bano said: “The premature release of all the convicts came as a shock not only to the petitioner, to her grown up daughters, to her family, but also to the society at large, nationally and internationally, and the society across segments had shown their anger, disappointment, distrust and protest to the clemency shown by the Government by releasing criminals like the 11 convicts of the case.”
Terming the release order mechanical, the plea contended that the premature release of the convicts in the much talked about case of Bilkis Bano, has shaken the conscience of the society and resulted in several agitations across the country.
All 11 convicts were granted remission by the Gujarat government and released on August 15 last year.
A batch of petitions have been filed against the release of 11 convicts, including the one filed by Bilkis Bano. The other petitions were filed by CPI-M leader Subhashini Ali, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, National Federation of Indian Women, Meeran Chadha Borwankar and others, Asma Shafique Shaikh, and others.