Bilkis Bano’s plea against convicts’ remission: SC to form special bench

Bilkis Bano, represented by her lawyer Shobha Gupta, was assured by a bench consisting of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala that a new bench will be constituted to hear her case.

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The SC bench warned that any delay in registering cases, regardless of religion, would be considered contempt of court and emphasised that the order would be enforced universally I File photo

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court accepted Bilkis Bano’s plea to set up a special bench to hear her case against the remission of sentence for 11 convicts involved in her gang-rape during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala assured Bano, represented through her lawyer Shobha Gupta, that the new bench will be formed.

Gupta mentioned the matter for urgent hearing and said that a new bench needs to be constituted.

Also Read: SC dismisses one of the two pleas by Bilkis Bano against release of 11 convicts

“I will have a bench constituted. Will look at it this evening,” the CJI said.

Earlier, 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.

Also Read: Bilkis Bano case: SC’s Justice Bela Trivedi recuses herself from hearing plea

Seven members of Bilkis Bano’s family were also killed during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

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.

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.

(With agency inputs)