Monday, June 17, 2024

Don’t mention again and again: SC refuses submissions seeking early setting up of bench to hear Bilkis’ plea

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain submissions seeking an early setting up of a fresh bench to hear Bilkis Bano’s plea challenging the remission of sentence of 11 convicts by the Gujarat government in her gang-rape case.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha was urged by lawyer Shobha Gupta, appearing for Bano, that another bench was needed to be constituted to hear the case.

“The writ (petition) will be listed. Please, do not keep mentioning the same thing again and again. It is very irritating,” the CJI said.

Supreme Court judge Bela M Trivedi on Tuesday recused herself from hearing a plea filed by Bano.

The CJI will now have to set up a fresh bench, to which Justice Trivedi will not be a part, to hear Bano’s case.

All 11 convicts were granted remission by the state government and released on August 15 this year.

Bilkis Bano was 21 years old and five months pregnant when she was gang-raped while fleeing the riots that broke out after the Godhra train burning incident. Her three-year-old daughter was among seven family members killed at that time.

The investigation in the case was handed over to the CBI and the trial was transferred to a Maharashtra court by the Supreme Court.

A special CBI court in Mumbai had on January 21, 2008, sentenced the 11 to life imprisonment. Their conviction was later upheld by the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court.

The 11 men convicted in the case walked out of the Godhra sub-jail on August 15 after the Gujarat government allowed their release under its remission policy. They had completed more than 15 years in jail.

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