New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Wednesday commenced hearing rejoinder arguments on behalf of the petitioners, including Bilkis Bano, against the early release of convicts by the Gujarat government.
A bench of Justices B.V. Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan is undertaking final hearing in a batch of petitions filed against the remission granted to convicts in the case of the gang rape of Bilkis Bano and murder of her family members committed during the 2002 post-Godhra riots.
Advocate Shobha Gupta, appearing for Bano, stressed that the three vital factors – the nature of crime, impact on the society at large and the precedent value – were not not taken into account while passing the remission orders.
At this, the bench said that it will have to balance the both sides as convicts argue that they should be given a chance for their reformation and reintegration in the society.
“You are saying that remission should not be granted at all. They have also given judgment saying that remission is for the purpose of reformation, reintegration, etc.,” the top court told Gupta.
Gupta claimed that the early release orders were passed without any application of mind or referring to the gravity of the offence.
“It is not a gunshot injury case Milords ! Heads were smashed with stones. Eight minors were killed, including Bilkis Bano’s first child. She was smashed on a stone. This kind of threat, grossness, brutality, barbarism. A pregnant woman was gang-raped, her mother was gang raped,” she told the court, adding that a “gruesome” crime was committed.
Earlier, the convicts had argued before the apex court that remission orders granting them early release have an essence of judicial order and cannot be challenged by way of filing a writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution.
The Centre, Gujarat government, and convicts have opposed the public interest litigations (PILs) filed by CPI-M leader Subhashini Ali, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, the National Federation of Indian Women, Asma Shafique Shaikh and others against the remission orders, saying that once victim herself has approached the court, others may not be allowed to intervene in a criminal matter.
The 11 men convicted in the case were released on August 15 last year, after the Gujarat government allowed their release under its remission policy. The convicts had completed 15 years in jail.
The apex court will continue to hear the matter on Thursday. — IANS