Justice restored for bilkis as SC nixes remission  

Says Gujarat govt usurped powers of Maha counterpart; lashes out at convict for fraud 
File photo : Bilkis Bano (PTI)
File photo : Bilkis Bano (PTI)

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday restored justice to the horrific gang-rape victim Bilkis Bano — seven of whose relatives were also murdered in the post-Godhra riots — by quashing the Gujarat government’s remission of sentence to 11 life convicts in the case.

“The state of Gujarat acted in tandem and was complicit with the convict,” the court said in its verdict and directed all 11 convicts to surrender within two weeks. The judgment was authored by Justice B V Nagarathna on her behalf and also for Justice Ujjal Bhuyan.

The court held that the Gujarat government was not competent to pass the remission orders. The court said only the government of the state where the offender was sentenced is competent to consider an application for remission. It faulted convict Radheyshyam Shah for abusing the process of law while seeking remission.

Shah had initially approached the Gujarat High Court in 2019 for remission. The HC observed that he should approach the Maharashtra government instead. His second such application before the Gujarat HC was also dismissed in 2020. Shah approached the Maharashtra government with a similar request. Besides, the CBI and the Special Judge (CBI), Mumbai had given a negative recommendations in his case. 

The convict then moved the SC without disclosing the CBI opinion and his approaching the Maharashtra government. A bench had on May 13, 2022 directed the Gujarat government to consider the plea for Shah’s for premature release, holding that the government of the state where the offence had taken place has the jurisdiction to decide the application. Nullifying the order, the court said it was obtained fraudulently.

Suppression of facts

  •  Convict Shah did not tell SC’s Rastogi bench that he had approached the Maharashtra government for remission
  •  CBI had given a negative recommendation
  •  Special judge of CBI too gave negative recommendation
  •  SP, Dahod, Gujarat had given a negative recommendation
  •  The District Magistrate, Dahod, Gujarat had given a negative recommendation 

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