Pleas challenging release of Bilkis Bano's rapists adjourned to mid-February
The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing of the petitions challenging the remission to the 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case to mid-February. The review petition filed by Bano was listed for hearing along with a batch of other pleas before a bench comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi and Bela Trivedi, who recused herself from the case without stating any reason.
Why does this story matter?
- During the 2002 Gujarat riots, 21-year-old Bano, who was five-month pregnant then, and her family were attacked in Ahmedabad's Randhikpur village by an angry mob that raped her and killed seven of her family members.
- Over 1,000 people lost their lives in the riots. On August 15, 2022, the Gujarat government released the convicts under the amnesty policy of 1992 triggering outrage.
Matter to be heard by another bench
Justice Rastogi said the matter has to be heard by a different combination of judges. Earlier the top court said that Bano's plea will be taken as the lead matter along with other petitions on the matter filed by CPI(M) leader Subhashini Ali, journalist Revati Laul, Lucknow University's former vice-chancellor Roop Rekha Verma, and Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra.
Bano has challenged Gujarat government's decision and SC ruling
Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud earlier expressed displeasure to Bano's counsel for requesting an urgent listing of her petition. Bano petitioned the SC on November 30, challenging the Gujarat government's decision to release the 11 convicts in August. Additionally, Bano also filed a review petition to challenge the SC's May ruling that allowed the Gujarat government to decide on the convicts' remission.
Gujarat government didn't furnish documents to Bano
Bano, in her petition, revealed that she had approached the Gujarat government asking for the papers or entire documents related to the premature release of the convicts. However, nothing came from the state government despite her reminders. Bano also claimed that, despite being the victim of the crime, she was not informed about such a process of premature release or remission being initiated.