SC to form new bench to hear Bilkis Bano's plea
The Supreme Court (SC) announced on Wednesday that it would form a new bench to hear a plea challenging the premature release of 11 convicts who had gang-raped Bilkis Bano during the 2002 Gujarat riots. A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud, Justices JB Pardiwala and PS Narasimha agreed to form a new bench.
Why does this story matter?
- Twenty-one-year-old Bano was five months pregnant when she was attacked by a mob in Ahmedabad's Randhikpur village during the 2002 Gujarat riots. She was allegedly gang-raped, and numerous members of her family were killed.
- Over 1,000 individuals lost their lives in the riots.
- However, last year, on August 15, the Gujarat government released the convicts under the state's 1992 remission and premature release policy.
Will look at it this evening: CJI to Bano's lawyer
"I will have a bench constituted. Need to break two benches for it. Will look at it this evening," Chandrachud stated after Bano's lawyer Shobha Gupta mentioned the plea seeking listing of the case and added that the matter is not getting listed. Previously, Gupta also mentioned the case for an urgent hearing and suggested that a new bench needs to be formed.
Details on Bano's other review plea
In December, Bano also filed a review petition, requesting that the court reconsider its previous order, in which it asked the Gujarat government to consider the remission appeal of one of the convicts. It was, however, rejected. A bench of Justices Bela M Trivedi and Ajay Rastogi directed that the matter be listed before a bench where Trivedi is not a member.
Gujarat government didn't furnish documents to Bano
In her petition, Bano stated that she approached the state government and requested the papers or the entire file relating to the premature release of all convicts. Despite her reminders, no outcome came from the state government. Bano also claimed that she was not informed about the process of premature release or remission being initiated, despite being the victim of the crime.
Know about the charges against the 11 accused men
A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Mumbai sentenced the 11 accused to life imprisonment for raping a pregnant woman, unlawful assembly, and murder in 2008. Their conviction was later upheld by the Bombay High Court. While one accused died during the trial, seven others were acquitted for lack of evidence.