New Delhi: The Supreme Court nullified the Gujarat government’s decision to grant remission to 11 convicts involved in the heinous gangrape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of seven of her family members during the 2002 riots in the state.
A bench comprising Justices B V Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan declared the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the remission as maintainable. The court ruled that the Gujarat government was not the appropriate authority to pass the remission order, thereby questioning the legitimacy of the decision.
Bilkis Bano, who was 21 years old and five months pregnant at the time, endured a brutal gangrape while escaping the horrors of the communal riots that erupted following the Godhra train-burning incident. Tragically, her three-year-old daughter was among the seven family members who lost their lives in the riots.
The controversial remission order, which led to the release of all 11 convicts on August 15, 2022, came under scrutiny as the Supreme Court deemed the state government unfit to make such a decision.
This decision by the apex court not only brings attention to the inadequacies in the remission process but also highlights the importance of ensuring justice in cases of heinous crimes, particularly those linked to communal violence. The ruling underscores the need for a more vigilant and responsible approach in handling matters of remission and release, particularly when it concerns convicts implicated in such grave offenses.
The Bilkis Bano case continues to be a stark reminder of the atrocities committed during the 2002 Gujarat riots, and the Supreme Court’s intervention serves as a crucial step towards upholding justice and accountability in the face of such tragic events.