The Supreme Court has agreed to form a special bench to hear a plea by Bilkis Bano against the remission of the sentence of 11 men, convicted for gang-raping her and killing seven members of her family during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Hearing one of the petitions of Bano on Wednesday (March 22), a bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala assured her that the new bench will be formed.
Also read: SC dismisses one of the two pleas by Bilkis Bano against release of 11 convicts
Bano’s lawyer, Shobha Gupta mentioned the matter for urgent hearing and said that a new bench needs to be constituted.
“I will have a bench constituted. Will look at it this evening,” the CJI said.
On January 24, the hearing on Bano’s plea challenging the remission of sentence of 11 convicts in the gang-rape case by the Gujarat government could not be held in the top court as the judges concerned were hearing a matter related to passive euthanasia as part of a five-judge Constitution bench.
Besides the plea challenging the release of the convicts, the gang-rape survivor had also filed a separate petition seeking a review of the apex court’s May 13, 2022 order on a plea by a convict.
In its May 13, 2022 order, the apex court had asked the state government to consider the plea of a convict for premature release in terms of its policy of July 9, 1992 which was applicable on the date of conviction and decide it within a period of two months.
Also read: Bilkis Bano case: SC’s Justice Bela Trivedi recuses herself from hearing plea
All 11 convicts were granted remission by the Gujarat government and released on August 15, last year.
Bano’s review plea against the May 13, 2022 order, however, was dismissed by the top court in December last year.
On March 3, a 19-year-old pregnant Bano was brutally raped by a gang of 17 men who also slaughtered her entire family including her three-year-old daughter.
The riots were in retaliation to the Godhra train burning incident in which 59 pilgrims returning from Ayodhya were charred to death.
Also read: ‘Will stand and fight again’: Bilkis Bano on remission to 11 convicts in 2002 gang-rape case
(With inputs from agencies)