The Supreme Court on Monday (January 8) set aside the remission of 11 convicts sentenced to life imprisonment for multiple murders and gang rapes including that of Bilkis Bano and her family, during the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat. The court held that the State of Gujarat was not the “appropriate government” to decide the issue of remission as the trial was held in the State of Maharshtra. Since the Gujarat Government was found to be incompetent, the remission orders were held to be invalid. Accordingly, the court directed the convicts to surrender to jail authorities within two weeks.
The Supreme Court division bench, going beyond the `competence’ of the Gujarat government to pass the remission order, has actually stated that it acted in `complicity’ with the convicts. The bench has also stated that a fraud has been played by the Gujarat government in presenting the facts in justifying the remission order. The scathing judgment has stated that if the convicts can “circumvent the consequence of their conviction, peace and tranquility in the society will be reduced to a chimaera”. The fact that the Gujarat government has furnished that the decision was also based on the concurrence of the Central government, makes the Central government equally complicit in this `complicity with the convicts’. That the remission did not take into account, the brutality of the crimes and its larger consequence on the society and the rule of law is obvious.
The opposition parties hailed the Supreme Court for the judgement. The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) welcomed the judgment by the Supreme Court nailing down the Gujarat government’s illegal actions of granting remission to eleven convicts who had been sentenced to life for gang raping of pregnant Bilkis Bano, members of her family and also mass murdering at least fourteen of them in the 2002 Gujarat communal carnage. CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechuri, mentioned in his X handle that Justice has been delivered to Bilkis Bano finally after two long decades. The brutality of gang rapes and mass murders cannot be brushed aside and the perpetrators cannot remain unpunished. Senior Congress leader Mr Rahul Gandhi said that in a democracy its wrong to ‘kill justice’ for electoral gains. Pic courtesy: The Indian Express