New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India has overturned the Gujarat government’s decision to release 11 individuals convicted in the gangrape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of her family members during the 2002 communal riots. The released convicts, who were initially freed by the Gujarat government in 2022, have now been directed to surrender within a two-week timeframe.
In its ruling on multiple petitions challenging the government’s 2022 decision, the court declared that the Gujarat government lacked the authority to determine the reduction of the convicts’ sentences. The court emphasized that the jurisdiction to decide on the plea for sentence reduction rests with the state where the trial took place, which, in this case, is Maharashtra.
Expressing its disapproval, the Supreme Court pulled up the Gujarat government for overstepping its bounds and infringing upon the authority of the Maharashtra government. The court criticized the Gujarat government for failing to file a review petition against the May 2022 judgment.
Justice BV Nagarathna, delivering the verdict, underscored the role of the Supreme Court as a guardian of the rule of law.
Furthermore, the court censured the Gujarat government for issuing the remission order in August 2022 in a perfunctory manner, devoid of any thoughtful consideration.