Supreme Court Judge Justice Bela M Trivedi recused from hearing Bilkis Bano’s plea challenging the release of the 11 convicts who gangraped her and murdered seven members of her family during the 2002 riots in Gujarat’s Gohdra. The plea will now be listed before another bench.
No reason was given for the recusal. The bench, however, said the top court has already taken cognisance on request for urgent hearing.
The bench of Justice Ajay Rastogi and Bela M Trivedi was hearing a fresh writ petition filed by Bilkis Bano challenging the remission granted to the 11 convicts by the Gujarat government.
“This court has already taken cognisance. The counter and pleadings are already there in the other matter: the top court said, adding, “we would not like to hear it. List before a bench of which one of us is not a part of".
Bilkis Bano filed her plea against the grant of remission which had led to the release of the convicts on August 15, two weeks ago in which she said the early release of the convicts “has shaken the conscience of the society". Bano said the state government passed a mechanical order completely ignoring the requirement of law as laid down by the Supreme Court.
“The enmasse premature release of the convicts in the much talked about case of Bilkis Bano, has shaken the conscience of the society and resulted in a number of agitations across the country," she said in the plea. Referring to past verdicts, the plea said enmasse remissions are not permissible and moreover, such a relief cannot be sought or granted as a matter of right without examining the case of each convict individually based on their peculiar facts and role played by them in the crime.
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Referring to past verdicts, the plea said enmasse remissions are not permissible and moreover, such a relief cannot be sought or granted as a matter of right without examining the case of each convict individually based on their peculiar facts and role played by them in the crime.
“The present writ petition challenging the decision of the state/central government granting remission to all the 11 convicts and releasing them prematurely in one of the most gruesome crimes of extreme inhuman violence and brutality by a group of human beings upon another group of human beings, all helpless and innocent people - most of them were either women or minors, by chasing them for days together persuaded by hate towards a particular community," the plea said.
The plea, which gave minute details of the crime, said Bano and her grown-up daughters were shell-shocked with this sudden development .
A Timeline of The Case:
-Bano was 21 years old and five months pregnant when she was gangraped while fleeing the riots that broke out after the Godhra train burning incident. Her three-year-old daughter was among the seven family members killed.
-The investigation in the case was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (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.
(With PTI inputs)
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