The Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear a petition filed by Bilkis Bano challenging the remission of 11 convicts, who were sentenced to life in 2008 for the gang-rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of seven of her family members after the Gujarat government cleared their early release under the state’s 1992 remission policy.
A bench of Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice Vikram Nath will hear the petition.
Earlier, the Gujarat government had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court on the release of the culprits. The Gujarat government had said that the convicts were released only after getting clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs. All the convicts have been released from jail under the remission policy. Filing of PIL in this matter is a misuse of the law. The law does not give the right to an outsider to interfere in a criminal matter, so the petition should be dismissed.
The 11 men were released on August 15 after one of them, Radheshyam Shah, approached the Supreme Court in April seeking remission, arguing that they had spent over 15 years in prison in the case.
In May, the top court directed the state government to consider their plea in accordance with the 1992 policy – the one which was prevalent on the date of their conviction. While the latest remission policy of 2014 prohibits the early release of rape convicts, no such restrictions were there in the 1992 policy.
Bilkis Bano was gang-raped after the 2002 riots in Godhra, Gujarat. 7 people in his family were also murdered. In this case, in 2008, 11 convicts were sentenced to life imprisonment. One of them approached the Supreme Court for release. The court had left the decision of release to the Gujarat government. The Gujarat government had formed a committee to take a decision regarding the release. On the report of this committee, the government released all the culprits.