Bilkis Bano Case: Centre, Gujarat Government To Challenge SC's Order To Release Case Files

Bilkis Bano Case: Centre, Gujarat Government To Challenge SC's Order To Release Case Files

by Swarajya Staff - Wednesday, April 19, 2023 03:36 PM IST
Bilkis Bano Case:  Centre, Gujarat Government To Challenge SC's Order To Release Case FilesSupreme Court of India (Narendra Bisht/The India Today Group/Getty Images)

The Supreme Court's order requesting files on the remission of convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang-rape case is expected to be challenged by the centre and Gujarat government.

The government has pointed that it does not want to produce documents related to the remission of sentence for 11 convicts in the case, citing "privilege".

In November last year, Bano filed a plea with the Supreme Court questioning the "premature" release of 11 convicts by the state government, stating that the sentence remission "shaken the conscience of society." She had lost seven family members, including her three-year-old daughter, to the 2002 Gujarat riots.

On 27 March, the Supreme Court asked Gujarat and the Centre to present files used in sentence remission.

Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna questioned the remission given to 11 convicts during their sentence, suggesting the severity of the crime should have been taken into account by the state.

"A pregnant woman was gang-raped and several people were killed. You cannot compare victim's case with standard Section 302 (murder of Indian Penal Code) cases. Like you cannot compare apples with oranges, similarly massacre cannot be compared with single murder.

"Crimes are generally committed against society and the community. Unequals cannot be treated equally," the Supreme Court said, PTI reported.

"The question is whether the government applied its mind and what material formed the basis of its decision to grant remission," the Supreme Court said.

"Today it is Bilkis but tomorrow it can be anyone. It may be you or me. If you do not show your reasons for grant of remission, then we will draw our own conclusions," it added.

On 2 May, the Supreme Court will review requests against convict remission and instructed unserved convicts to respond after receiving notification.

The Supreme Court, on 27 March, characterised the Bilkis Bano gang-rape case and the killing of her family members as a "horrendous" deed. It also raised a query with the Gujarat government regarding the application of uniform standards for remission grant to the 11 convicts, similar to those followed in other murder cases.

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