Bilkis Bano Case Timeline: SC Cancels Remission of 11 Convicts

Pic Courtesy: Yahoo News

Pic Courtesy: Yahoo News

A division bench of Justice BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan of the Supreme Court cancelled remission to 11 convicts saying that the orders were passed without application of mind. The court ordered convicts to surrender before jail authorities within 2 weeks. Bilkis Bano case is a brutal incident that happened during the 2002 Gujarat riots wherein 21-year-old woman Bilkis Bano was gang-raped and seven members of her family were killed.

Let us understand the chronology of events in this case starting from year 2002:

  • Mar 2002: A violent mob attacked the family of Bilkis Bano in Ahmedabad where she was gang-raped, and her family killed.
  • Dec 2003: Supreme Court orders CBI inquiry.
  • Beginning of 2008: A Special Court orders the conviction of 11 men of gang rape with Bilkis Bano and the murder of her family members. They were convicted of life imprisonment.
  • May 2017: Bombay High Court confirms and upholds the conviction of life imprisonment of 11 convicts.
  • April 2018: SC orders the Gujarat government to pay Rs 50 lakh as compensation to Bilkis Bano.
  • May 2022: SC directs the Gujarat government to consider the pre-mature release of Bilkis Bano convicts as per the Gujarat remission policy 1992.
  • Aug 2022: Gujarat government released 11 convicts from the Godhra sub-jail.
  • Aug 2022: A PIL was filed before the SC challenging the premature release of convicts by the Gujarat government.
  • Nov 2022: Bilkis Bano also moves SC regarding the early release of convicts on the grounds that premature release has “shaken the conscience of society”.
  • Dec 2022: SC dismissed Bilkis Bano’s plea seeking a review of the May order passed by SC which mentioned the Gujarat government as an appropriate government for pre-mature release of convicts of gang-rape and murder.
  • Mar 2023: SC directs notices to Central and Gujarat government on a plea filed by Bilkis Bano in Nov 2022.
  • Aug 2023: Final hearing before SC starts challenging the early release of convicts by the Gujarat government.
  • Oct 2023: SC reserves its order on all the petitions including the plea filed by Bilkis Bano. It was a total of 11 days of hearing.
  • 08 Jan 2024: A division bench of the Supreme Court cancelled remission to 11 convicts saying that the orders were passed without application of mind. SC said that the order passed in May 2022 was a fraud played by the convicts. The court also criticized the Gujarat government by saying that the government has breached the rule of law by usurping power not vested in it and abusing its power. Finally, SC directs convicts to surrender to jail authorities within two weeks.

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