Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court on August 25 issued notice to Gujarat government and the Centre on a batch of petitions which challenged the premature release of 11 convicts for the murder of 14 persons and gangrape of women, including Bilkis Bano, in the post-Godhra riots.

“We issue notice to the Gujarat and Centre (governments). We will seek their reply. List it for further hearing after two weeks,” a bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana said.

The Supreme Court was hearing petitions filed by former CPI (M) MP Subhasini Ali, journalist Revati Laul and Roop Rekha Verma challenging the Gujarat government’s decision to grant remission to 11 convicts for killing 14 persons and sexually assaulting pregnant Bilkis Bano.

Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioners, submitted to the apex court that a large number of lives were lost in the riots and consequently there was an exodus of Muslims.

He pleaded that the court should cancel and set aside the Gujarat government’s remission order.

He added that the remission order should not have been ordered by the Gujarat government in case of gangrape of a pregnant woman. “These are all brutal offences,” he said.

The Supreme Court observed that the question is under which Gujarat rules were the convicts entitled to remission and whether there was an application of mind in the case.

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