KNT Web Desk
Justice Bela M Trivedi on Tuesday recused herself from hearing Bilkis Bano’s plea challenging early release of 11 convicts in Supreme Court.
Bano, who was gang-raped during the 2002 Gujarat riots, had filed a petition challenging the remission of sentence of the convicts in the case by the state government, stating their premature release has “shaken the conscience of society”.
As soon as a bench comprising Justice Trivedi and Justice Ajay Rastogi took up the case for hearing on Tuesday, Justice Rastogi said that his sister judge will not like to hear the case. “List the matter before a bench in which one of us is not a member,” news agency PTI reported the bench as saying. However, the bench did not specify any reason for Justice Trivedi’s recusal.
All the 11 convicts were released on August 15 this year. In her plea against the remission, Bano said the state government passed a mechanical order completely ignoring the requirement of law as put forward by the Supreme Court.
The apex court had asked the state government to consider the plea for premature release of the convicts in terms of its policy of July 9, 1992 about deciding a remission petition within a period of two months.
However, in October, the Gujarat government told the Supreme Court that it had the Centre’s approval for the release of the 11 convicts and also cited their “good behaviour”.
However, contrary to the state government’s claims, FIRs and police complaints accessed by NDTV show that the 11 convicts were accused of threatening and harassing witnesses while out on parole. Between 2017-2021, at least four witnesses in the case registered complaints and FIRs against the convicts.
Bano was of 21 years age and five months pregnant when she was gangraped while fleeing the riots in 2002. Her seven family members, including her three-year-old daughter, were also killed in the incident.