SC to hear maintainability of PILs challenging remission to convicts in Bilkis Bano case on Wednesday

New Delhi, Aug 8 : The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that it will hear on Wednesday the question of maintainability of various PILs filed against the remission granted to 11 convicts in the case of gang rape of Bilkis Bano and murder of her family members during the 2002 post-Godhra riots.

The Centre, Gujarat government, and the convicts have opposed the public interest litigations (PILs) filed by CPI-M leader Subhashini Ali, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, National Federation of Indian Women, Asma Shafique Shaikh and others, saying that once victim herself has approached the court, others may not be allowed to intervene in a criminal matter.

“Other writ petitions are in the nature of PILs. A preliminary objection has been raised with respect to the maintainability of the PILs. To hear the preliminary objection, list tomorrow at 3 p.m.,” ordered the top court on Tuesday.

A bench of Justices B.V. Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan commenced final hearing from August 7 in the batch of petitions filed against the release of 11 convicts, including the one filed by Bilkis Bano.

Advocate Shobha Gupta, appearing for Bilkis Bano, had argued that the convicts in the case are not entitled for remission in view of the adverse opinion given by the trial judge who had convicted and sentenced them.

On May 9, the Supreme Court had directed issuance of notice to convicts, in relation with the convicts who could not be served notices. It had also directed publication of notices in local newspapers, including in Gujarati and English.

On May 2, the Centre and Gujarat government had told the Supreme Court that they would not claim privilege over the documents in connection with the remission of sentence of convicts in Bilkis Bano case, and agreed to share the documents with the apex court for its perusal.

The 11 men convicted in the case were released on August 15 last year, after the Gujarat government allowed their release under its remission policy. The convicts had completed 15 years in jail.

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