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Crime & Law

'No privilege over documents on remission of convicts in Bilkis Bano case': Centre tells SC

PUNJAB NEWS LINE | May 02, 2023 05:52 PM

NEW DELHI: The Centre and Gujarat government on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that they would not claim privilege over the documents in connection with the remission of sentence of convicts in Bilkis Bano gang-rape and murder of her family members case during Gujarat riots, and agreed to share the documents with the apex court for its perusal.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre and Gujarat government, submitted before a bench headed by Justice K.M. Joseph that they do not claim privilege over files in connection with grant of remission to 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case.

Mehta submitted that the Centre and state government will also not seek review of the apex court's earlier order directing them to bring on record documents in connection with the remission of the convicts.

The top court recorded Mehta's statement that Centre and Gujarat government are not seeking review of the order with the direction of production of records.

The apex court is likely to take up the matter later in May to ascertain the completion of service of documents and the case may come up for hearing in July.

On April 18, the Centre and Gujarat government, before the Supreme Court, claimed privilege over files in connection with grant of remission to 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case. The Centre's counsel had said the government is likely to seek review of the court's March 27 order, asking them to be ready with the original files on remission granted to the convicts.

In the previous hearing, the top court had noted that a pregnant woman, Bilkis Bano, was gang-raped and several people were killed and the case cannot be compared with a standard Section 302 (murder) cases, and while stressing on the gravity of the offence and on the remission granted to 11 convicts, said: "Unequals cannot be treated equally."

The 11 men convicted in the case were released on August 15 last year, after the Gujarat government allowed their release under its remission policy. The convicts had completed 15 years in jail.

A batch of the petitions have been filed against the release of 11 convicts, including the one filed by Bano. The other petitions were filed by CPI-M leader Subhashini Ali, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, National Federation of Indian Women, Meeran Chadha Borwankar and others, Asma Shafique Shaikh and others.

The top court had issued notice on all the pleas filed in the matter.

 

 
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