Supreme Court rejects Bilkis Bano plea against allowing early release of  Gang Rape and Murder Convicts

The convicts, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment, were released by the Gujarat government ahead of the assembly polls in the State.

Bilkis Bano

The Supreme Court has dismissed the review petition filed by Gujarat riots gangrape survivor, Bilkis Bano challenging the early release of the 11 men convicted for gang-raping her and murdering her family members in 2002.

All 11 of them were sentenced to life imprisonment for the crime.

However, the 11 men who were convicted in 2008 in the case, walked out of the Godhra sub-jail on August 15 after the Gujarat government allowed their release under its remission policy.

Bano was gangraped in the aftermath of the 2002 riots and her three-year-old-daughter was among twelve people killed by a mob in Limkheda taluka of Dahod district in Gujarat.

Bano’s plea against the top court’s May 13 judgment, contended that the remission policy of State of Maharashtra should apply in present case, instead of 1992 remission policy of Gujarat since the trial in the case had happened in Maharashtra.

The order was passed by a bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Vikram Nath.

The Supreme Court had on, May 13, ruled that remission of the convicts in the case should be considered as per the the policy existing at the time of conviction in the State where the crime was actually committed.

The top court’s judgment came on a petition filed by one of the convicts, Radheshyam Bhagwandas Shah @Lala Vakil seeking direction to the State of Gujarat to consider his application for premature release under the policy dated July 9, 1992 which was existing at the time of his conviction.

The Supreme Court in its May 13 verdict said that the crime was admittedly committed in Gujarat and ordinarily the trial was to be concluded in the same State and in terms of Section 432(7) CrPC, the appropriate government in the ordinary course would be the Gujarat government.

Therefore, since the crime happened in Gujarat, all further proceedings including plea for remission has to be considered as per the policy of Gujarat government.

Pursuant to the May 13 judgment of the top court, the Gujarat government had granted remission to 11 convicts who had gangraped and murdered Bano’s family members during the riots.

The convicts, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment, were released by the Gujarat government ahead of the assembly polls in the State.

The 11 convicts who were set free are Jaswant Nai, Govind Nai, Shailesh Bhatt, Radhyesham Shah, Bipin Chandra Joshi, Kesarbhai Vohania, Pradeep Mordhiya, Bakabhai Vohania, Rajubhai Soni, Mitesh Bhatt and Ramesh Chandana.

Bano then moved the present review petition challenging the May 13 verdict.

She has also separately filed a writ petition challenging the Gujarat government’s decision to release the convicts.

Justice Bela M Trivedi had recused from that matter on Monday, December 13.


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