Bilkis Bano case: SC sets up a bench headed by Justice K.M. Joseph to hear plea against release of 11 convicts

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will, on March 27, hear a batch of petitions against the release of 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang-rape case, which also involves the killing of her family members during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

A bench of Justices K.M. Joseph and B.V. Nagarathna will hear a plea filed by Bilkis Bano and also pleas filed by several political and civil rights activists, against the release of 11 convicts. Earlier this week, Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud had agreed to constitute a new bench to hear the batch of pleas.

In January this year, the top court had said the question of maintainability of petitions, filed by various activists, would not arise in a matter related to remission of 11 life terms convicts.

In the plea, Bilkis Bano said release of all the convicts came as a shock not only to the petitioner, to her grown-up daughters, to her family, but also to the society at large.

The petition said: “The premature release of all the convicts came as a shock not only to the petitioner, to her grown up daughters, to her family, but also to the society at large, nationally and internationally, and the society across segments had shown their anger, disappointment, distrust and protest to the clemency shown by the Government by releasing criminals like the 11 convicts of the case.”

Terming the release order mechanical, the plea said the premature release of the convicts in much talked about case of Bilkis Bano, has shaken the conscience of the society and resulted in several agitations across the country.

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

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