The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice on two petitions filed by CPI(M) leader Subhasini Ali and AITC MP Mahua Moitra, challenging the premature release of 11 convicts on remission by the Gujarat government in the gangrape case of Bilkis Bano case and muder case of 14 people.
The Bench of Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice B.V. Nagarathna issued notice to Advocate Rishi Malhotra, who represented one of the convicts, telling him to seek instructions on whether he could appear for the other convicts as well.
The Apex Court directed the petitioners to serve a copy to both Malhotra and the Gujarat government. It further directed the state of Gujarat to place all relevant documents on record, including the remission order.
Representing one of the petitioners, Advocate Malhotra submitted that the impleading petition was filed only yesterday.
When the Apex Court asked whether a notice was required in the second matter, Malhotra submitted that multiple petitions were being filed by people with no locus. He also said that he was against this ‘impleadment business’.
Moitra’s petition, filed through Advocate Shadan Farasat, stated that the victim had legitimate apprehensions regarding the safety of herself and her family members.
On August 25, an Apex Court Bench of then (CJI) N.V. Ramana, Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice Vikram Nath had issued notice to the Gujarat government, while directing that the 11 convicts be impleaded as parties.
While the hearing was in progress, the Court observed that it needs to consider whether under the Gujarat Rules, the convicts were entitled to remission or was it with some intention.
The Court said it has to see whether there was application of mind in this case while granting remission?
The petition was filed by CPI(M) leader Subhasini Ali, independent journalist and filmmaker Revati Laul and former philosophy professor and activist Roop Rekh Varma.
On August 15, the 11 convicts were released from the jail pursuant to a decision taken by the Gujarat Government to grant them remission after completion of 14 years of sentence
Gujarat Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Raj Kumar had reportedly said that the convicts were released due to the “completion of 14 years” in jail and other factors such as “age, nature of the crime and behaviour in prison”.
During the 2002 Godhra riots, a five-month pregnant Bano was gangraped and her three-year-old-daughter was among 14 people killed by a mob in Limkheda taluka of Dahod district in Gujarat.