Bilkis Bano Case: SC Asks if Convicts Have Fundamental Right to Seek Remission


The SC was hearing petitions challenging the premature release of 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case and murder of seven of her family during the 2002 Gujarat riots. (Representational image: PTI)

The SC was listening to petitions difficult the untimely launch of 11 convicts within the Bilkis Bano gangrape case and homicide of seven of her household through the 2002 Gujarat riots. (Representational picture: PTI)

The SC will hear rejoinder submissions of Bilkis Bano’s counsel and others on October 4. It had earlier noticed some convicts are “more privileged” and safe the good thing about remission

The Supreme Court Wednesday requested whether or not convicts have a basic proper to search remission, because it heard petitions difficult the untimely launch of 11 convicts within the Bilkis Bano gangrape case and homicide of seven of her members of the family through the 2002 Gujarat riots.

“Is the right to seek remission a fundamental right (of the convicts). Will a petition lie under Article 32 (that deals with citizens’ right to move SC directly if their fundamental rights are infringed) of the Constitution,” a bench of justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan requested a lawyer showing for one of many 11 convicts.

“No, it is not a fundamental right of the convicts,” the lawyer responded.

The sufferer and others additionally wouldn’t have the precise to transfer the apex courtroom straight by submitting a petition beneath Article 32 as no basic proper of theirs has been infringed both, he mentioned. The lawyer mentioned the victims produce other statutory rights to problem the grant of remission.

Another senior lawyer representing a convict mentioned the grant of remission by the competent authority is open to judicial evaluation earlier than excessive courts beneath Article 226 of the Constitution, which says the excessive courtroom “shall have powers to issue orders or writs including habeas corpus…, to any person or any government for the enforcement of fundamental rights and for other purposes”.

“Who is to say that remission has been granted after following the rules?” the bench puzzled.

The lawyer responded, saying if at all this is a question, then remission has to be challenged in the high court and not directly in the top court under Article 32. During the hearing, the bench objected to a lawyer’s submission that after an accused has been convicted, “right or wrong”, by a court including the Supreme Court, and served the sentence before being granted remission, it was not open to challenge.

“What is this – right or wrong? You have been rightly convicted,” the bench told the lawyer, who said he only wanted to drive home the point that the convicts have already served the sentence for over 15 years.

“Balance of convenience tilts more towards the convicts since they have already served the sentence. Our criminal jurisprudence is based on the idea of reformation. The nature and severity of crime should not be seen at this stage but the conduct of the convicts in jail,” the lawyer said.

The arguments on behalf of the convicts concluded on Wednesday and now the court will hear rejoinder submissions of Bilkis Bano’s counsel and others on October 4 at 2 pm. The court had earlier observed some convicts are “more privileged” and safe the good thing about remission.

Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, showing for convict Ramesh Rupabhai Chandana, had mentioned the grant of remission for reformation and rehabilitation of the convicts is a “settled place internationally” and the argument of Bilkis Bano and others that he cannot be granted the relief due to heinous nature of the offence cannot be invoked now after the executive had taken a decision.

“Other side says retribution or deterrence and nothing less. That, in my opinion, is not an argument that can be made at this stage… the grant of remission cannot be approached through a punitive attitude. This is not in line with the policy of Indian law,” he had mentioned.

Luthra had mentioned a Mumbai classes courtroom utilized its judicial thoughts on the state’s motion and, furthermore, the convicts have been handed down life time period “simpliciter” (in simple manner or absolutely and without condition).

Prior to this, the top court had on August 17 said state governments should not be selective in granting remission to convicts and the opportunity to reform and reintegrate with society should be given to every prisoner.

TMC MP Mahua Moitra had told the apex court that the gangrape of Bilkis Bano and murder of seven of her family members were a “crime against humanity”, and accused the Gujarat authorities of getting failed to train its constitutional mandate of defending the rights of girls and kids by granting remission to the 11 convicts within the “horrendous” case.

Besides the petition filed by Bilkis Bano contesting the remission granted to them, several other PILs including one by CPI(M) leader Subhashini Ali, independent journalist Revati Laul and former vice-chancellor of Lucknow University Roop Rekha Verma have challenged the remission. Moitra has also filed a PIL against the remission.

Bilkis Bano was 21 years old and five months’ pregnant when she was gangraped while fleeing the horror of the communal riots that broke out after the Godhra train-burning incident. Her three-year-old daughter was among the seven family members killed in the riots.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)

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