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SC issues notice to Gujarat govt regarding release of convicts in Bilkis Bano case

SC issues notice to Gujarat govt regarding release of convicts in Bilkis Bano case

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday requested the Gujarat government's answer to a petition against the release of 11 men convicted of gangraping Bilkis Bano during the Gujarat riots of 2002.

The petitioners were also ordered to name people who had received remission as parties in the case by the bench led by Chief Justice N V Ramana. The bench also scheduled a hearing on the subject after two weeks.

Three Public Interest Litigations have been filed by Subhashini Ali, a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Mahua Moitra of the Trinamool Congress, and another petitioner in the Supreme Court to contest the remission and subsequent release of 11 prisoners on Independence Day.

The incident developed into a major political crisis when the judge for the special court who found the men guilty also questioned the Gujarat government's decision.

"Did they ask the judge under whom the case was heard? I can tell you that I heard nothing regarding this... In such cases, the state government needs to take advice from the central government as well. Did they do that? I have no idea. If they did, what did the central government say," Justice UD Salvi, who retired as a judge of the Bombay High Court, said in an interview with NDTV.

"I don't know if they went through the procedure or not," he had added.

On August 15, after the Gujarat government approved their release under its policy of remission, the prisoners left the Godhra sub-jail. They'd spent more than 15 years behind bars.

BJP-affiliated organisations showered the convicts with gifts, embraces, and flowers as they were received. According to a BJP MLA, the men were Brahmins with "good sanskar" (culture).

Bilkis Bano stated that the release of the prisoners had "shaken" her confidence in the legal system and left her "shocked" and "numb." The family has been in too much distress to consider taking any legal action.

Bilkis Bano, who was 21 years old and five months pregnant, was gang-raped as she fled from the violence that had broken out after the Godhra train fire. Her daughter, age 3, was one among the victims.

With inputs from agencies

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TAGS:supreme courtGujarat GovernmentGujarat riotsBilkis Bano case
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