The Chief Justice of India, D Y Chandrachud decided to look into the petitions filed by Bilkis Bano against the release of her rapists who were serving life sentences.

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The event took place during the Gujarat riots when she was gang raped by 11 people.

Bilkis Bano’s advocate Shobha Gupta filed a review petition against the Supreme Court’s decision of May 2022 by making an oral mention before the CJI’s bench against the Gujarat government regarding the early release of the convicts under the state’s Premature Release Policy of 1992.


She argued that the remission policy of the state of Maharashtra would apply and govern the case where the trial happened and not that of Gujarat.

The Supreme Court on May 20 said that the remission would be considered on the policy that was in vogue during the time of conviction.

The judgment was a result of a plea filed by one of the 11 convicts, Radheshyam Bhagwan Das Shah. Following this, the court directed the Gujarat government to reconsider his application within two months.

The fundamental right to life 

Bano has challenged the release in another separate writ petition, arguing that this release would violate her fundamental right to life. 

Ceiling to the petitions filed by CPI (M) leader, Subhashini Ali and others before the bench. However, this was not taken up by the Bench.

She said that the case had to be heard on an urgent basis.

Source: The Supreme Court of India. (ANI)

CJI said that the review petition had to be listed first. The demand to have an open hearing as a review petition is usually heard in chambers in circulation. The CJI said that it was at the discretion of the judges concerned. 

The petition filed by Ms. Ali and others like TMC leader Mahua Moitra was heard on October 18. The court then gave the petitioner some time to respond to the Gujarat government’s affidavit which revealed that the Special Judge and CBI in Mumbai had opposed the premature release of the convicts.

Following where the case had been listed for November 29.

The affidavit by the state of Gujarat stated that the authorities of Gujarat and the Home Ministry had recommended their release whereas the Superintendent of police, CBI, Special Crime Branch, Mumbai, and the Special Judge of greater Bombay had opposed the premature release.

The 57-page affidavit said that the prisoners had completed 14+ years under life imprisonment and the orders of authorities concerned have been obtained as per the Premature Release Policy of 1992 submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs dated June 28, 2022, and sought the approval of the Government of India. The government of India conveyed the approval of the Central Government under section 435 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for the premature release of 11 prisoners by a letter on July 11, 2022.

Bilkis Bano moves to Supreme Court, Image Source: Getty Images

Read More: Convicts of the Bilkis Bano rape case were released.

The state clarified that the release of 11 convicts was not as per the circular allowing remission as a part of the celebration of Aazaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to counter the popular narrative.

The state government made it clear that it had followed the Premature Release Policy, 1992 under which permission was granted on 10th August 2022.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta challenged the locus standing of the third-party petitioners and called them interlopers, challenging the premature release.

The 11 men were released on August 15 under the Gujarat government’s remission policy after serving 15 years in jail in the Bilks Bano case leading to a massive outrage across the country.

Smriti Jha

Currently a research student at Cluster Innovation Centre, University of Delhi with Psychology as major. Hobbies include readings on geopolitics, gender rights, philosophy and other social causes. Has taken up creative writing as more of an interest. Presently into exploring fintech as a career option.


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