The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to set up a special bench to hear a plea against the release of 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang-rape case, which also involves the killing of her several family members during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Advocate Shobha Gupta, representing Bano, mentioned the matter for urgent hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud. The bench, also comprising Justices P.S. Narasimha and J.B. Pardiwala, assured Gupta that a new bench will be formed to hear the case.
The Chief Justice said, "I will have a bench constituted. We need to break two benches for it. We will look at this in the evening."
In January this year, the top court had said the question of maintainability would not arise in a matter related to remission of 11 life terms convicts.
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In the plea, Bano said release of all the convicts came as a shock to the petitioner, to her grown-up daughters, to her family, and also to the society at large, nationally, and internationally.
The petition said: "The premature release of all the convicts came as a shock not only to the petitioner, to her grown up daughters, to her family, but also to the society at large, nationally and internationally, and the society across segments had shown their anger, disappointment, distrust and protest to the clemency shown by the government by releasing criminals like the 11 convicts of the case."
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Terming the release order mechanical, the plea said the premature release of the convicts in much talked about case of Bilkis Bano, has shaken the conscience of the society and resulted in several agitations across the country.
All 11 convicts were granted remission by the Gujarat government and released on August 15, last year.