Bilkis Bano case: Guj govt moves SC to expunge remarks against it

NEW DELHI: The

Gujarat government

on Tuesday approached the

Supreme Court

and filed a

review petition

to expunge

remarks

made against it in the

Bilkis Bano case

.
The petition has sought the top court to expunge remarks from the order like ‘state acted in tandem with the convicts’ and ‘state was complicit’.
The state government said that it was acting as per the Supreme Court’s May 2022 judgment which directed it to consider the remission application of one of the convicts.

The Supreme Court in January had overturned the Gujarat government’s decision to grant early release to 11 convicts in the 2002 gang-rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of seven of her family members during the communal riots in the state.

Delving into the history of the case in which Bilkis Bano had to approach the Supreme Court four times at different stages to get justice, the apex court said the Gujarat government acted in tandem and was complicit with the convicts while passing orders of remission in their favour when it had no jurisdiction, and it vindicated the SC’s earlier orders to transfer the probe to CBI and shift the trial to Mumbai.
“We fail to understand why the state of Gujarat did not file a review petition seeking correction of the order dated May 13, 2022 passed by this court. Had the state filed an application seeking review of the said order and impressed upon this court that it was not the ‘appropriate government’… ensuing litigation would not have arisen at all. On the other hand, in the absence of filing any review petition seeking a correction of the order passed by this court, the state has usurped the power of the state of Maharashtra and has passed the impugned orders of remission on the basis of an order of this court which, in our view, is a nullity in law,” the bench had said.

“Instead, the state of Gujarat has acted in tandem and was complicit with what the petitioner-respondent No. 3 (Radheshyam Bhagwandas Shah, one of the convicts) had sought before this court. This is exactly what this court had apprehended at the previous stages of this case and had intervened on three earlier occasions in the interest of truth and justice by transferring the investigation to the CBI and the trial to the special court in Mumbai,” the bench added.
In 2003, the SC had transferred the probe to the CBI. A year later, the trial was shifted to Mumbai on Bilkis’s plea who expressed apprehension that free and fair trial was not possible in Gujarat. The court again intervened in the case in 2019 by directing the state to pay Rs 50 lakh as compensation to Bilkis.

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