Bilkis Bano case: Gujarat govt files review plea in SC to delete remarks against it

New Delhi: The Gujarat government on Tuesday moved Supreme Court and filed a review petition seeking to expunge certain remarks made against the government for its conduct with regard to the premature release of the 11 convicts in Bilkis Bano case.

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The State said that the adverse remarks made against the government in the apex court’s judgment have caused great prejudice to the State government.

The Gujarat government has sought to delete adverse remarks against the State.

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It further argued that the State government had only acted as per the mandamus issued by the Supreme Court by way of its judgment of May 2022.

Gujarat government was acting as per the Supreme Court’s May 2022 judgment which directed it to consider the remission application of one of the convicts, it said in the review plea.

The State submitted that it cannot be held to have “usurped” the jurisdiction of the State of Maharashtra when it was acting as per a direction of the Supreme Court.

On January 8, the Supreme Court struck down the Gujarat government’s order granting remission to 11 convicts who had gangraped Bilkis Bano and murdered her family members during the 2002 Godhra riots.

The top court had held that the Gujarat government was not competent to pass the remission orders but the Maharashtra government. It had said the appropriate government to decide the remission was the State (in this case Maharashtra) within whose territorial limits the accused are sentenced and not where the crime is committed or the accused are imprisoned.

It had held that the judgment of May 13, 2022, by which another bench of the apex court had directed the Gujarat government to consider remission of a convict as per the 1992 policy, was obtained by “playing fraud” on the court and by suppressing material facts.

Gujarat government usurped the powers of Maharashtra government acting in furtherance of the judgment dated May 13, 2022, which in our opinion is a “nullity”, the apex court had said.

Filing the review plea, the Gujarat government objected to the apex court’s observation that State of Gujarat has acted in tandem and was complicit with convict.

“The Supreme Court’s observation holding Gujarat guilty of ‘usurpation of power’ and ‘abuse of discretion’ for complying with the order of apex court, whereby another co-ordinate bench of this Court held the State of Gujarat to be the ‘appropriate government’ under section 432(7) of CrPC, and issued a mandamus to the State of Gujarat to decide the remission Application of a convict in accordance with the Remission Policy of 1992 which was in existence at the time of conviction in the State of Gujarat, is an error apparent on the face of the record primarily,” review plea of the Gujarat government stated.

The Gujarat government had released the 11 convicts, who were sentenced to life imprisonment, on August 15, 2022. All the 11 life-term convicts in the case were released as per the remission policy prevalent in Gujarat at the time of their conviction in 2008.

In March 2002 during the post-Godhra riots, Bano was allegedly gang-raped and left to die with 14 members of her family, including her three-year-old daughter. She was five months pregnant when rioters attacked her family in Vadodara.


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