“Unanswered Questions: Release of Bilkis Bano Case Convicts”

Bilkis Bano Case: 11 Men Sentenced to Life Imprisonment Released Under Gujarat Govt’s Remission Policy

The Supreme Court questioned the Gujarat government regarding the untimely release of men convicted for raping Bilkis Bano and her family’s murder during the 2002 riots. Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan expressed concerns over the government’s decision to grant premature remission release to the convicts. The court queried the selective application of this policy, demanding data on its implementation and the formation of the Jail Advisory Committee. The court shifted the hearing from Gujarat to Maharashtra due to concerns over a fair trial due to the 2002 violence. The 11 men were sentenced by a Maharashtra court and were released on Independence Day. The Gujarat government stated that the convicts were released as per the law, based on a 1992 policy. The convicts were released following a decision from a panel with links to the ruling BJP. Bilkis Bano’s lawyer criticized the Gujarat government’s decision, highlighting procedural irregularities. The court will hear Bilkis Bano’s petition against the convicts’ release. Convict Radheysham Shah’s plea for remission prompted the government’s decision to release all convicts. The panel justified their decision based on the convicts’ good behavior and cultural background.

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