Bilkis Case Culprits will go to Jail Again

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By Vijay Kumar

Supreme Court remands Bilkis Bano convicts back to jail, slams Gujarat's remission order as illegal

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has canceled the Gujarat government’s order to release all the 11 convicts sentenced to life imprisonment in the Bilkis Bano gang rape and murder case by giving them amnesty. The court has ordered all the convicts to report to the concerned jail officer within two weeks. The top court said that there was an abuse of process in ordering the pardon. The Supreme Court gave this decision on Monday while accepting the petition challenging the order of releasing the culprits by pardoning the victim.

Bilkis case
  • All 11 convicts were ordered to report to the concerned jail officer within two weeks.
  • Said- the victim has the right to challenge the acquittal of the culprits by filing a writ in the Supreme Court.
  • Bilkis said- This is what justice feels like, today is actually a new year for them.

Reacting to the verdict, Bilkis Bano through her lawyer said that this is what justice feels like, today is indeed a new year for her. Thanking the Supreme Court, she said that she smiled for the first time in the last one and a half years. Hug your children. She felt as if a stone like a mountain had been removed from her mind and now she could breathe again.

During the 2002 riots in Gujarat following the Godhra train burning incident, 21-year-old Bilkis Bano, who was five months pregnant, was gang-raped and seven members of her family, including her three-year-old daughter, were killed (murdered). The Gujarat government had released the 11 convicts convicted in the case and sentenced to life imprisonment by pardon on August 10, 2022, after serving 15 years in jail and on the basis of good conduct in jail. The issue of acquitting those guilty of heinous crimes was much discussed at that time. The victim had challenged the order of pardoning and releasing the culprits in the Supreme Court.

Bilkis Bano case – what happened when

  • March 3, 2002: A violent mob attacked Bilkis Bano’s family in Randhikpur village near Ahmedabad. She was gang-raped and seven family members were murdered.
  • December, 2003: Supreme Court directed CBI investigation into the case.
  • January 21, 2008: A special court convicted 11 people in the case. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.
  • December, 2016: Bombay High Court reserved its verdict on the appeal of all 11 convicts.
  • May, 2017: Bombay High Court upheld the life imprisonment of all 11 convicts.
  • April 23, 2019: Supreme Court asks Gujarat government to pay compensation of Rs 50 lakh to Bilkis Bano.
  • May 13, 2022: The Supreme Court directed the Gujarat government to consider a plea for premature release of a convict under its policy of July 9, 1992.
  • August 15, 2022: 11 convicts under the immunity policy of Gujarat government Released from Godhra subjail.
  • August 25, 2022: The Supreme Court issued notice to the Center and Gujarat government on the joint PIL filed by former CPI(M) MP Subhashini Ali, journalist Revati Laul and Professor Roop Rekha Verma against the premature release of the convicts.
  • November 30, 2022: Bilkis Bano also approached the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the Gujarat government.
  • December 17, 2022: The Supreme Court rejected Bilkis Bano’s petition seeking reconsideration of its May 13 decision.
  • March 27, 2023: Supreme Court issues notice to Centre, Gujarat government and others on Bilkis Bano’s petition.
  • August 7, 2023: The Supreme Court started the final hearing on the petitions challenging the decision of the Gujarat government
  • October 12, 2023: After 11 days of hearing on other petitions including Bilkis Bano’s petition, the Supreme Court reserved its decision.
  • January 8, 2024: Supreme Court cancels the remission of sentence of 11 convicts.

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