Friday, June 9, 2023

SC dismisses Bilkis Bano’s plea challenging Gujarat government’s order to prematurely release 11 convicts

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Saturday dismissed a review petition filed by Bilkis Bano seeking review of its May 2022 order asking the Gujarat government to consider the mercy petitions of 11 convicts in the gangrape case.

In May 2022, a Supreme Court bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Vikram Nath held that the Gujarat government had jurisdiction to consider the exemption request as the offense had taken place in Gujarat. The bench then directed the Gujarat government to decide on the application within a period of two months as per the 1992 exemption policy.

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Earlier, the Gujarat High Court had held that the exemption was to be considered by the State of Maharashtra, as the trial was conducted in Mumbai having been shifted from Gujarat.

As per a report in LiveLaw, Bilkis, through Advocate Shobha Gupta, sought review of the judgment primarily arguing that it was contrary to the plain language of Section 432(7)(b) of the CrPC, Which states that the government to decide the appropriate exemption is the government of the state where the test was conducted.

It was mentioned that the Supreme Court had given its verdict on a writ petition filed by one of the convicts.

The apex court allowed the writ petition and set aside the Gujarat High Court judgment which had ordered the Maharashtra government to decide the exemption. No Special Leave Petition was filed challenging the High Court’s decision and Bilkis argued that the order of the Supreme Court was a serious procedural irregularity, as a judgment cannot be set aside under Article 32 of the Constitution , Live Law reported.

Bilkas further insisted that the convict “cleverly suppressed” the fact that the case was related to the Gujarat riots.

It said that neither Bilkis was made a party nor was his name mentioned in the petition. Therefore, in the review petition, she contended that the seriousness and gravity of the offense was suppressed from the apex court and the bench was misled to pass orders as per the report.

Bilkis Bano has filed another writ petition challenging the Gujarat government’s decision to allow premature release of 11 convicts.

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