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Convict in Bilkis Bano case challenges SC verdict saying cancelling his remission violates judicial propriety

"The January 8 judgment pronounced by Justices Nagarathna and Bhuyan not only displayed judicial impropriety but also created uncertainty and chaos regarding which legal precedent should be followed in the future," stated Shah's petition filed with the top court.

Radheshyam Bhagwandas Shah, a convict in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case, has approached the Supreme Court asserting that the verdict on January 8, which revoked his remission and re-imprisoned all eleven convicts, was judicially improper. Shah’s plea, filed with the top court, argues that since the two-judge bench led by Justice BV Nagarathna and Justice Ujjal Bhuyan disagreed with another two-judge bench (led by Justice Rastogi), the matter should have been referred to a larger bench.

Shah submitted the plea through his lawyer Rishi Malhotra, claiming that the decision of Justice Nagarathna’s bench to overturn a judgment by Justices Ajay Rastogi and Vikram Nath was legally incorrect. Malhotra, in conversation with TNIE, mentioned urging the apex court to reconsider Shah’s plea for premature release. He also requested bail for Shah until the Supreme Court clarified which of the two-judge bench judgments should take precedence.

“The January 8 judgment pronounced by Justices Nagarathna and Bhuyan not only displayed judicial impropriety but also created uncertainty and chaos regarding which legal precedent should be followed in the future,” stated Shah’s petition filed with the top court.

In a landmark ruling on January 8, the Supreme Court nullified the Gujarat government’s decision on August 15, 2022, to grant remission to the 11 convicts serving life sentences for the gangrape of Bilkis and her family members during the 2002 Gujarat riots. The Court directed all 11 convicts to surrender within two weeks by January 21.

The remission was granted by the Gujarat government on August 15, 2022, following a May 2022 judgment in which the Supreme Court stated that any application for remission should align with the state’s policy where the crime occurred, not where the trial took place.

This move by the Gujarat government to release all 11 convicts of Bilkis sparked significant public outcry, with social activists, lawyers, and civil society denouncing it as a “miscarriage of justice.”

The 11 convicts released by the Gujarat government include Jaswant Nai, Govindbhai Nai, Shailesh Bhatt, Radhyesham Bhagwandas Shah, Bipin Chandra Joshi, Kesarbhai Vohania, Pradeep Modhiya, Bakabhai Vohania, Rajubhai Soni, Mitesh Chamanlal Bhat, and Ramesh Rupabhai Chandana.

In a related development, on February 14, the Gujarat government also submitted a review petition to the Supreme Court challenging its January 8, 2024, order. The petition seeks to expunge certain critical remarks made against the state regarding the premature release of the 11 convicts.

The Gujarat government’s review petition, filed before the top court, argues that the adverse remarks in the judgment have unfairly prejudiced the state. The government is requesting the Supreme Court to direct the removal of these unfavourable remarks from the record.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
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