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Bilkis Bano rape case: Supreme Court to hear plea against remission of 11 convicts

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to list a PIL, challenging the remission granted to 11 people, who were convicted for killing 14 persons and sexually assaulting five-months pregnant Bilkis Bano during the 2002 post-Godhra riots.

The petition was mentioned by Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal and Advocate Aparna Bhat before a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana this morning, seeking an urgent listing tomorrow. The CJI agreed to look into the matter.

Justice Ramana asked if the convicts were granted remission by virtue of a Supreme Court order. Sibal replied that the Apex Court merely directed to consider the matter.

“The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Ajay Rastogi gave a discretion to Gujarat government to consider it. We are challenging the remission, not the order of the Apex Court,” he said.

The Bench, also comprising Justice Hima Kohli and Justice C.T. Ravikumar, demanded to see the papers, but did not pass any order of listing.

The petition was filed by Subhasini Ali, Revati Laul and Ropp Rekh Varma.

Bano, who was five months pregnant then, was gangraped during the 2002 riots and her three-year-old-daughter was among 12 people, who were killed by a mob in Limkheda taluka of Dahod district in Gujarat.

The 11 convicts, who were set free by the Gujarat government, 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.

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, behaviour in prison and so on”.

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