January 14, 2024

Welcome Judgement on Bilkis Bano Case: AIDWA

AIDWA, in a statement issued on January 8, has welcomed the supreme court judgement which quashes the Gujarat government’s decision to allow premature release of the convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang rape which had happened during the Gujarat riots of 2002. The convicts had been released by the Gujarat government after 14 years of imprisonment.

A bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan held that the eleven convicts should go back to jail within two weeks and should continue to be in jail.

The court reportedly said that according to law, the Gujarat government was not empowered to pass the remission order since the appropriate government entitled to pass orders of remission was the government of Maharashtra where the trial had taken place and the sentence had been pronounced.

The court strongly criticized the convict Radheshyam, for playing a fraud upon the Supreme Court by suppressing material facts and getting a favourable order from the top court in May 2022 which eventually led to the release of all the eleven convicts. The court stated that the Gujarat High Court had already dismissed the petition of Radheshyam and said that only the Maharashtra government could decide the plea on remission. However, the said person had not appealed from this judgement but instead hiding this fact had come to the Supreme Court in a writ petition under Article 32. Radheshyam had therefore played a fraud on the court.

The court also criticised the Gujarat government for not filing a review plea against the May 2022 judgement and instead being complicit and acting in tandem with the convicts and usurping the Maharashtra government’s jurisdiction to grant remission to convicts.

Radheshyam had also apparently filed a remission application in Maharashtra and the presiding judge of the trial court and DGP Maharashtra had given their opinion against it.

Several petitions had been filed against the outrageous remissions granted by the BJP Gujarat government in this heinous case of gang-rape during the Gujarat riots. It was also the opinion of legal scholars and others that the case was not a fit one for remission, as normally remission is not granted in such grievous offences. Surprisingly the convicts had repeatedly got parole during their conviction. Bilkis Bano had in fact reported how she was threatened with her life by the convicts whenever they were out on parole.