Bilkis Bano Case Explained: What Happened So Far? What Supreme Court Said?

Bilkis Bano, survivor of the 2002 Gujarat riots, sought to cancel the remission of 11 convicts in her gang-rape case. The Supreme Court overturned their release, citing the Gujarat government's incompetence.
Supreme Court - Bilkis Bano
Supreme Court - Bilkis Bano

The Supreme Court overturned the Gujarat government's decision to release the 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang-rape case related to the 2002 Gujarat riots. 

The court held that the Gujarat government lacked the competence to decide remission and canceled the release, stating that criminals can only be released by the state where they are tried. The trail was held at Maharashtra.

Bilkis Bano case
Bilkis Bano case

The order came after Bilkis Bano requested the cancellation of the remission. The Supreme Court criticized its previous judgment that allowed the convicts' early remission, stating it was obtained through fraudulent means.

 The Gujarat government's decision to release the convicts based on an outdated law was condemned, and the court emphasized that the convicts should return to jail within two weeks.

Controversial Release and Backlash

The Gujarat government's release of the convicts on Independence Day in 2022 sparked outrage as it was based on a 1992 remission policy, superseded by a 2014 law barring release in capital offense cases. 

The convicts, given a hero's welcome, were described as "sanskari Brahmins" by a panel that included individuals linked to the ruling BJP. 

The court highlighted the lack of competence in the Gujarat government's decision and stressed that only the Maharashtra government could decide on release. 

The Supreme Court's decision is seen as a significant reversal, raising questions about the earlier judgment and the process leading to the convicts' release.

Judicial Criticism and Legal Repercussions

The Supreme Court criticized the Gujarat government for not filing a petition to review its 2022 order, emphasizing that the government was not the competent authority for remission. 

The court's scathing remarks on the 2022 order, obtained through fraudulent means, indicate a serious lapse in the legal process. 

Questions were raised about the Gujarat government's adherence to the rule of law and its justification for releasing the convicts under an outdated policy. 

The legal fallout of this case may prompt a reevaluation of the remission process and the need for more stringent criteria to prevent the misuse of laws governing convicts in heinous crimes.

Bilkis Bano - Bilkis Bano
Bilkis Bano - Bilkis Bano

Public Figures' Reactions and Political Implications

The release controversy and the subsequent Supreme Court decision have led to public figures expressing their views on social justice and the need for accountability. The case has political implications, given the involvement of individuals associated with the ruling BJP in the release decision.

 The court's directive to the convicts to return to jail has reignited debates on justice, communal tensions, and the role of the legal system in ensuring fair and impartial decisions. 

The Bilkis Bano case has become a focal point for discussions on the effectiveness of the justice system and the importance of upholding the rights of victims in cases of grave atrocities.

What is Bilkis Bano Case?

In the aftermath of the 2002 Godhra train burning incident, Bilkis Bano fled her village, Radhikpur, fearing violence in Dahod district. Accompanied by her daughter Saleha and 15 family members, they sought refuge in Chapparwad village on March 3, 2002. The family faced a brutal attack by 20-30 armed individuals, including the 11 accused men.

Assault and Loss

During the attack, Bilkis, her mother, and three other women were raped and brutally assaulted. Among the 17-member group, eight were found dead, six went missing, leaving only Bilkis, a man, and a three-year-old survivor.

Supreme Court - Bilkis Bano
Supreme Court - Bilkis Bano

Struggle for Justice

Remaining unconscious for hours, Bilkis regained consciousness and registered a complaint at the Limkheda police station. Despite suppression of facts in her complaint, her case gained attention from the National Human Rights Commission and the Supreme Court. The CBI conducted an investigation into the heinous crime.

Supreme Court
Supreme Court

Legal Battle

Bilkis Bano's struggle for justice led to a landmark Supreme Court order, and the recent decision overturning the release of 11 convicts involved in the gang-rape case. The case highlights the resilience of a survivor seeking justice against all odds.


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