Bilkis Bano Case: The petition against the release of 11 convicts will be heard in the Supreme Court

Pankaj Prasad
Supreme Court
Supreme Court

During the hearing, advocate Rishi Malhotra, appearing for one of the 11 convicts, said that the petitioners have filed an application on Thursday to prosecute these people as defendants.

Bilkis Bano Case: The Supreme Court on Friday said it will consider the petitions after three weeks challenging the commutation and release of 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang rape and murder of seven members of his family during the 2002 Gujarat riots. will hear. The top court has directed the Gujarat government's counsel to produce the relevant records within two weeks. The matter came up for hearing before a bench of Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice BV Nagarathna. On August 25, the top court had sought response from the Center and the Gujarat government on a petition challenging the exemption given to 11 convicts in this case.

The court had issued the notice on the plea of ​​CPI(M) leader Subhashini Ali, journalist Revati Lal and activist Roop Rekha Rani. Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra has also filed a separate petition in the apex court challenging the remission and her petition was also listed for hearing on Friday. During the hearing, advocate Rishi Malhotra, appearing for one of the 11 convicts, said that the petitioners have filed an application on Thursday to prosecute these people as defendants. He said that the prosecuted defendants have to go to the notice and file their reply.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that they have complied with the earlier direction of the apex court. The bench asked Malhotra, "Why have you filed an application for an adjournment?" Malhotra said that several petitions have been filed in this matter. Objecting to the jurisdiction of the petitioners, he said, "I am against this prosecuting business in a criminal case." The bench told Malhotra that 11 people have been made parties in the main case and it can accept the notice on their behalf. Malhotra said that he has appeared for only one of them and will have to take instructions.

The bench said that the copy of the petitions should be given to him as well as the counsel for the state. Malhotra said it would not be necessary to issue notice in other petitions as the same demand has been made in them. The bench asked why several petitions have been filed when the cause of action is the same. In a separate petition filed in the matter, one of the lawyers appearing for the petitioners said that the plea in his petition is slightly different. The bench asked the counsel for the state to file the relevant records within two weeks. It also said that the reply, if any, be submitted within a week thereafter.

The 11 people convicted in the case were released from the Godhra sub-jail on August 15 after the Gujarat government allowed their release as part of its exemption policy. He has spent more than 15 years in prison. On January 21, 2008, a special CBI court in Mumbai sentenced 11 people to life imprisonment for the gang rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of seven members of his family. Later the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court also upheld his sentence.