The Supreme Court is set to hear Bilkis Bano’s petition – challenging the early release of rape convicts – on December 13. A bench of justices Ajay Rastogi and Bela Trivedi will hear the matter. The same bench is currently seized of a bunch of public interest litigations (PILs) against the remission granted to the eleven rape-and-murder case convicts in the case.
The release of the convicts in August had triggered nationwide outrage. Bilkis Bano had moved the top court against the release on November 30. The 11 men were convicted in 2008 for raping her and killing seven of her family members, including her daughter, during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The bench, led by Justice Rastogi, is also taking note of a clutch of petitions filed against the August 10 order of the Gujarat government granting the benefit of remission to the 11 convicts under the 1992 policy.
Bilkis Bano has also sought review of the top court’s May order under which the state government was told to consider the convicts plea for premature release in accordance with the 1992 policy. Even as the existing remission policy of 2014 (of the Gujarat government) prohibits early release of rape convicts, no such restrictions were there in the 1992 policy.
In October, the state government had told the Supreme Court that the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) approved the early release of 11 convicts sentenced to life in 2008. It had also cited the “good behaviour” of the convicts at the time.
The release of the 11 convicts had triggered a huge outrage with the opposition parties lashing out at the Centre. The release came months ahead of the state elections in Gujarat.Among those who had hit out at the government over the matter were the Congress’s Rahul Gandhi, the leaders of the Trinamool Congress and the AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi.