Bilkis Bano Case: Supreme Court to hear petitions against remission of 11 convicts on August 7

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The Supreme Court fixed the hearing of petitions filed by Bilkis Bano and others related to the 2002 Gujarat riots on August 7, 2023. The petitions were against the remission granted to all 11 convicts for the crime of gang-raping Bilkis Bano and killing her family members. The matter will be heard by the bench headed by Justice BV Nagarathna. While hearing the matter today, Justice Nagarathna and Justice Ujjal Bhuyan pronounced, “The counsel for Bilkis Bano submitted that newspaper publication as directed by this court was effected on June 1, 2023, and an affidavit with that regard was filed on June 7. Similarly, in other cases, notices on the respondent are stated to be served either directly or by newspaper publication. This fact is not disputed by Solicitor-general for India Tushar Mehta appearing for both the Union of India and the State of Gujarat, as well as other counsel appearing for the private respondents. Therefore, the service on all respondents is held to be complete.” 

Earlier on March 27, the Supreme Court termed this incident a ‘horrendous’ act and asked the Gujarat HC whether appropriate standards were followed while granting remission to all 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case. The Gujarat government granted remission to the convicts and they walked free on August 15, 2022. This horrendous act broke out after the Godhra train burning incident where seven family members including her 3-year-old daughter were killed by the convicts. The petition against the remission was filed by Bilkis Bano as well as various others including CPI (M) leader Subhashini Ali, former vice chancellor of the Lucknow University Roop Rekha Verma, independent journalist Revati Laul, and Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra.

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