The Supreme Court has today said that the response filed by the Gujarat government in the plea challenging the release of 11 convicts in Bilkis Bano gang rape case as remisssion policy, is very bulky.
The bench of Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice CT Ravikumar made the observation while directing the government for serving the State’s counter-affidavit on all parties.
The Court orally remarked, “It is a very big reply and has so many judgments in a reply. Where is the factual statement, where is the application of mind.”
The Solicitor General replied that he agrees that it could have been avoided, but the sole idea was to have easy reference.
The Court directed that the counter should be made available to all lawyers and list matters on November 29, 2022.
The Gujarat government had last month granted remission to 11 convicts who had gangraped Bilkis Ban while she was pregnant and also killed her young daughter along with other family members during the 2002 Godhra riots.
The 11 convicts who have been 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.
CPI(M) leader Subhasini Ali, independent journalist and filmmaker Revati Laul and former philosophy professor and activist Roop Rekh Varma had filed a petition before the top court questioning the remission.
The Supreme Court had asked all the 11 convicts to respond to the plea along with asking for a response from the Gujarat Government on the same.
He added that if such gets promotion or are entertained by the apex court, it would not only unsettle the settled position of law but would also open flood gates for people to jump in any matter even after the court has given verdict.
The Supreme Court had, on August 25, sought the response of the Gujarat government and the 11 convicts to the plea.