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Bilkis Bano plea against remission granted to her convicts will be heard – Justices Ajay Rastogi


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Syed Ali Mujtaba, Edited By Adam Rizvi, The India observer, TIO, NJ: New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India has ordered the hearing of pleas challenging the premature release of 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano rape and murder case of 2002 at a later date.

A bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and her sister Bela M Trivedi was supposed to hear the case, but Justice Bela M Trivedi recused herself from hearing the plea filed by Bilkis Bano against remission granted to convicts.

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Justice Ajay Rastogi said as Justice Bela Trivedi is no more part of the benchthe court couldn’t pass the order to tag the PILs with the one filed by Bilkis Bano.

“Since my sister (Justice Trivedi) wants to recuse, we cannot pass a tagging order. Now that the victim is here… we will take the victim’s matter as a lead matter and list before the bench and all the matters will be tagged together when the bench in different combinations will sit.”

Also Read, Tweet & Share: That Day in Gujarat. What pregnant Bilkis Bano Survived, gang-raped, brutal massacre of her 14 family members including her 3-year-old baby.

Answering the question of the counsel of the convicts that the locus standing of the petitioners who filed PILs against the remission granted to 11 convicts, Justice Ajay Rastogi  said, once there is a plea by the victim then the point of locus goes.

Bilkis Bano besides filing a petition against the per-mature release of convicts had also filed a review petition seeking a review of its earlier order by which it had asked the Gujarat government to consider the plea for the remission of the convicts.

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“The remission in this heinous case would be entirely against public interest and would shock the collective public conscience, as also be entirely against the interests of the victim (whose family has publicly made statements worrying for her safety),” her plea stated.

Gujarat government dismissed the review petition and in its affidavit had defended remission granted to convicts saying they completed 14 years of sentence in prison and their “behavior was found to be good”.

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The State government said it has considered the cases of all 11 convicts as per the policy of 1992 and remission was granted on August 10, 2022, and the Central government also approved the pre-mature release of convicts. The affidavit further said, “ it is pertinent to note that the remission was not granted under the circular governing grant of remission to prisoners as part of the celebration of “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.”

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In March 2002 during the post-Godhra riots, Bilkis Bano was allegedly gang-raped and left to die with 14 members of her family, including her three-year-old daughter. She was five months pregnant when rioters attacked her family in Vadodara.

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Curated and Compiled by Humra Kidwai

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Syed Ali Mujtaba

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a Sr.Journalist, Author based in Chennai, India. Writes frequently for the USA based News Portal, TheIndiaObserver. He is author of the book Soundings on South Asia, New Dawn Press (2005). He can be reached at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com or TIO, at Mediaiss@Gmail.com

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