The Supreme Court will hear pleas challenging the Gujarat government's August 15 decision to grant remission 11 people convicted of gangraping Bilkis Bano and murdering seven members of her family while they were fleeing their village during the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal mentioned the matter before the bench led by outgoing Chief Justice of India NV Ramana seeking an urgent listing of the same. The batch of pleas has been filed by TMC leader Mahua Moitra, CPI (M) leader Subhashini Ali, journalist Revati Laul and Professor Roop Rekha Verma.
"The release completely fails to bolster either social or human justice and does not constitute a valid exercise of the guided discretionary power of the State…," Moitra's plea said.
Releasing all the 11 convicts prematurely clearly indicates that the State Government mechanically granted "wholesale" release without considering the cases individually on merits, the plea added.
On August 15, the 11 convicts serving a life sentence in the Bilkis Bano rape case were released from jail after the Gujarat government constituted a panel to review their cases under the remission policy.
"I trusted the highest courts in our land. I trusted the system, and I was learning slowly to live with my trauma," Bano said two days later. In February 2002 Bano, who was five-months pregnant at the time, was gang-raped and brutalised when she, along with members of her family including her three year-old daughter, were fleeing the communal violence in her village in Gujarat.
"The release of these convicts has taken from me my peace and shaken my faith in justice. My sorrow and my wavering faith is not for myself alone but for every woman who is struggling for justice in courts," she said in a statement.
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