Bilkis Bano case: SC issues notice in petition challenging remission of convicts’ sentences

Subhashini Ali, Revati Laul and Prof. Roop Rekha Verma had moved petition demanding cancellation of remission granted

Bilkis bano case

On Thursday, August 25, the Supreme Court issued notice in the petition challenging the grant of remission of sentences for eleven people convicted for raping Bilkis Bano and murdering 14 members of her family including her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter.

The petition was moved by CPI (M) Member of Parliament Subhashini Ali, journalist Revathi Laul and Prof. Roop Rekha Verma. Readers would recall that yesterday, Advocate Aparna Bhat had mentioned the matter before Chief Justice NV Ramana and requested an urgent listing. Today the matter was heard by a bench comprising CJI Ramana, and Justices Ajay Rastogi and Vikram Nath.

It is noteworthy that Justices Rastogi and Nath were part of the bench that had originally ruled in May 2022, that the state of Gujarat had the jurisdiction to decide on remission. According to LiveLaw, today, Justice Rastogi reportedly asked Advocate Kapil Sibal, who was appearing for the petitioners, “Merely because the act was horrific, is that sufficient to say remission is wrong?” He further asked, “Day in and day out remission is granted to convicts of life sentence, what is the exception (in this case)?”

Hindustan Times reported that the court also clarified, “We have to see whether there was an application of mind or not. This court didn’t order for their release but only asked the state to consider remission as per the policy.

Meanwhile, the Counsel for the State of Gujarat argued that the writ was not maintainable as the petitioners were strangers. The court then directed the petitioner to make the accused persons respondents, and issued notice to the Gujarat Government to file its reply. The court directed that the matter be listed after two weeks.


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