SC To Hear Plea Against Bilkis Bano’s Rape Case Convicts’ Release

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to consider listing a plea challenging the grant of remission to 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case.
The top court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by Subhashini Ali, Revathi Laul and Roop Rekha Verma.

The PIL said the convicts should not be released as it is a case that involves gangrape and murder.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal and Advocate Aparna Bhat also mentioned the case before a bench headed by NV Ramana, the Chief Justice of India. Sibal said the remission has been challenged adding, “14 people were killed and a pregnant woman was raped.”

Earlier, over 6,000 people, including activists and historians, urged the Supreme Court to revoke the early release of the convicts in the case.

The crime, which happened during the 2002 Gujarat riots, relates to the gangrape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of 14 of her family members, including her three year old daughter in a communal attack. Bilkis was the only survivor of the crime.

The investigation was handed over to the CBI and the trial was shifted from Gujarat to Maharahstra by the Supreme Court.

In 2008, a sessions court in Mumbai convicted 11 persons for gangrape and murder and sentenced them to life imprisonment. The conviction was upheld by the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court.

On August 15, 2022, all the convicts were released from a jail in Godhra, after being granted remission by the Gujarat Government.

In May 2022, the Supreme Court had held that Gujarat Government was the appropriate government to consider the remission in the case and directed that the remission applications be decided within 2 months. The premature release of these convicts sparked a widespread outrage.

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