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Centre, Gujarat Agree To Produce Papers On Release Of Bilkis Bano Convicts

Centre, Gujarat Agree To Produce Papers On Release Of Bilkis Bano Convicts


The Supreme Court had termed the Bilkis Bano gang-rape and the murder of her family a “horrendous” act.

New Delhi:

The hearing of a clutch of petitions challenging the release of the 11 men convicted for rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of her family during the 2002 Gujarat riots, was postponed today. The hearing will take place in the second week of July, the court said after the Centre and the Gujarat government said they will produce the documents regarding the release of the convicts. The bench said that it would list the matter for May 9 for directions to lay down the timeline so the case can be re-heard when the court opens after summer vacation. A new bench will also be formed to hear the case.

The Centre and the state had earlier cited that the documents were “privileged” indicating that it was unwilling to produce them in court. They also told the court that they were considering filing a review petition against the order asking them to produce the relevant files.

But the judges had been stern.

Underscoring that there must be “objective standards”, The bench of Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna said, “If you do not show your reasons for grant of remission, then we will draw our own conclusions.”

During a hearing in March, the Supreme Court had termed the Bilkis Bano gang-rape and the murder of her family a “horrendous” act. It had also asked the Gujarat government whether it applied uniform standards, as followed in other cases of murder, while granting remission to the 11 convicts.

“Like you cannot compare apples with oranges, similarly massacre cannot be compared with single murder… Today it is Bilkis but tomorrow it can be anyone. It may be you or me,” the court had said.

Bilkis Bano had approached the Supreme Court in November last year challenging what she called “premature” release of the 11 convicts by the Gujarat government. The remission of their sentence has “shaken the conscience of society”, she had said in her petition.



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