Bilkis Bano Case Update: Supreme Court Orders Convicts to Surrender

Supreme Court's Verdict Reverberates: Convicts in Bilkis Bano Case Ordered to Surrender.

In a recent development, a 2-judge Supreme Court bench has overturned the Gujarat government’s decision to grant remission to 11 convicts in the infamous case of the gang-rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of seven of her family members during the 2002 Gujarat riots. The convicts were granted remission by the Gujarat government on August 15, 2022.

Bilkis Bano, who was five months pregnant at the time of the heinous incident, became a symbol of resilience and justice. However, concerns were raised about the competence of the Gujarat government in deciding on remission since the gang-rapists were convicted and sentenced in Maharashtra.

Bilkis Bano Convicts
The 11 convicts —Radheshyam shah, Jaswant Chaturbhai Nai, Keshubhai Vadaniya, Bakabhai Vadaniya, Rajibhai Soni, Rameshbhai Chauhan, Shaileshbhai Bhatt, Bipin Chandra Joshi, Govindbhai Nai, Mitesh Bhatt, Pradip Modhiya— walked out of Godhra sub-jail on August 15.

The 2-judge bench, comprised of Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan, declared the Gujarat government’s decision null and void. The Supreme Court had reserved the verdict on October 12 last year after 11 days of hearings on the case. Various petitions were filed challenging the remission, including one by Bilkis herself. Notable figures such as Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Mahua Moitra and CPI(M)’s Subhashini Ali also filed petitions in the case.

Trying to make Govt understand

The release of the convicts had sparked widespread public outrage, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of India’s independence. Their remission and subsequent release from jail occurred shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation from the historic Red Fort in Delhi.

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