Bilkis Bano Case: SC Judge Opts Out Out Of Hearing Plea Against Convicts’ Release


New Delhi: Supreme Court judge Bela M Trivedi on Tuesday recused herself from hearing a plea filed by Bilkis Bano, who was gangraped and seven members of her family killed during the 2002 Gujarat riots. However, the bench did not specify any reason for the recusal of justice Trivedi.

Following this, the matter was adjourned and will have to be listed in a new bench.

Bilkis Bano, in two separate petitions, had challenged the early release of the convicts by the Gujarat government on August 15. She had said that the state government passed a mechanical order completely ignoring the requirement of law as laid down by the Supreme Court.

Bilkis Bano was 21 and five-month pregnant when she was gang raped during the 2002 Gujarat riots that followed the Godhra train burning incident. Her three-year-old daughter was also among the seven members of her family who were killed.

The investigation in the case was later handed over to the CBI and the trial was transferred to a Maharashtra court by the Supreme Court.

A special CBI court in Mumbai had on January 21, 2008 sentenced the 11 to life imprisonment. Their conviction was later upheld by the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court.

The convicts were prematurely released earlier this year after the Centre’s approval, the Gujarat government told the Supreme Court, even though the Central Bureau of Investigation and a special court had opposed their release for committing the “heinous” crime.

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