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SC Questions Gujarat Govt’s Decision To Release Convicts In Bilkis Bano Case

Supreme Court has inquired about the reasons behind the Gujarat government’s decision to release the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case.

Godhra riots survivor Bilkis Bano
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned Gujarat government’s decision to allow premature release of 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case.

According to the Live Law report, SC has inquired about the reasons behind the Gujarat  government’s decision to release the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case.

The report said the bench comprising Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna said when remission is considered in such heinous crimes affecting the society at large, the power must be exercised keeping in mind public interest.

"The question is whether govt applied its mind, what material formed the basis of its decision, etc...(Judicial) order requiring convicts to be in jail for rest of their natural life...(they were) released by executive order...Today it is this lady (Bilkis). Tomorrow, it can be you or me. There must be objective standards...If you don't give us reason, we will draw our own conclusions," the report quoted Justice Joseph as having said.

"The law has been laid down in Venkata Reddy's case whose remission on account of him being a 'good Congressman' was set aside. Very high yardstick, even though power exists. Reasons must also be given," the report quoted Justice Joseph as having said. 

The bench has now listed the matter on May 2, when it will also take a decision on review petition proposed to be filed by the government against court's order dated March 27, it mentioned.

"We will take a call on whether to file one by Monday," the report quoted ASG SV Raju appearing for both Centre and Gujarat government having told the bench.

In May 2022, a bench led by Justice Rastogi had ruled that the Gujarat Government had the jurisdiction to consider the remission request as the offence took place in Gujarat. 

The review petition filed by Bilkis Bano seeking review of this decision was dismissed by the Supreme Court in December 2022.

Meanwhile, all the eleven convicts were released on August 15, 2022 after the State Government allowed their remission applications. 

The visuals of released convicts getting heroic welcome became viral across social media, leading to outcry among several sections. 

In this background, a bunch of PILs were filed in the Supreme Court questioning the relief granted to the convicts. 

Bilkis Bano has also challenged the premature release of the convicts.

Gujarat Government has told the Supreme Court in an affidavit that the decision was taken after the approval of the Central Government, considering the good behaviour of the convicts and the completion of 14 years sentence by them, it mentioned.
 

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