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Bilkis Bano case: SC agrees to hear fresh plea challenging remission granted to convicts
SC agreed to hear a fresh plea moved by a women's organisation, challenging the remission of sentence and the release of convicts in the 2002 Bilkis Bano gang-rape case
The Supreme Court agreed on Friday to hear a fresh plea moved by a women's organisation, challenging the remission of sentence and the release of convicts in the 2002 Bilkis Bano gang-rape case, which also involves the killing of seven of her family members during the Gujarat riots.
A bench of justices Ajay Rastogi and C T Ravikumar tagged the matter with the main petition and said it would be heard along with it.
The top court was hearing a plea filed by the National Federation of Indian Women, challenging the remission of sentence and the release of convicts in the case.
The court had, on October 18, said the Gujarat government's reply to petitions challenging the remission is very bulky, wherein a series of judgments have been quoted but factual statements are missing.
It granted time to the petitioners to file their response to the Gujarat government's affidavit and said it will hear the matter on November 29.
Bilkis Bano was 21 years old and five-month pregnant when she was gang-raped while fleeing the riots that broke out after the Godhra train burning incident. Her three-year-old daughter was among the seven family members killed.
The 11 men convicted in the case walked out of the Godhra sub-jail on August 15 after the Gujarat government allowed their release under its remission policy. They had completed more than 15 years in jail.
Earlier on October 19, the Gujarat government has told the Supreme Court that Bilkis Bano case convicts were out of jail for around 1,000 days even before being released on remission of life sentence and one of them even got charge- sheeted for outraging the modesty of a women in 2020 while out on parole,
A state government affidavit said all convicts were granted parole, furlough and even temporary bail at different points during their incarceration, with the highest being for 1,576 days and the lowest 998 days.
Out of the 11, Mitesh Chamanlal Bhatt was booked and charge-sheeted for offences under sections 354 (outraging the modesty of woman), 504 (insult intended to provoke breach of the peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC, entailing a maximum sentence of 7 years, or fine, or both.
The information with regard to Bhatt (57) was given by the collector-cum-district magistrate of Dahod in his letter dated May 25, 2022 while putting forth his opinion about the prisoner's premature release under sections 432-433A of the CrPC. These sections relate to suspension and remission of punishment of convicts.