Bilkis Bano Case: Convicts file affidavits

New Delhi, Sep 24 (Bureau) Eleven convicts in Bilkis Bano rape case, who were granted remission recently by Gujarat government, have filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court, opposing pleas challenging the state government’s decision. The convicts, in the affidavit, claimed that the petitioners, who had moved the apex court against the Gujarat Government’s order, has no locus standi in the matter.In the response filed in the Supreme Court, the convicts have justified their pre-mature release, saying that the 1992 remission rules which did not prohibit release of rape, gangrape or murder convicts was made applicable by Gujarat govt as per the directions of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court bench, headed by the then Chief Justice of India (CJI) Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana, had on September 9 sought the response of the 11 convicts, and issued notice to the Gujarat government on a batch of petitions filed by social activist- Subhashini Ali and others. Complying with the Supreme Court’s September 09 order, the 11 convicts had filed their affidavit, before the Supreme Court, which is expected to hear the case tentatively on October 18, Tuesday. Rishi Malhotra, lawyer for all the 11 convicts, said that ‘the petitioners have no locus standi in the matter’.

Thereby, all the petitions should be dismissed by the Supreme Court, he added.“This present writ petition is not maintainable, as the petitioners neither belong to the victims family members not their near and dear ones. The petitions have been filed by political activist and completely stranger to this particular case. In criminal matters or orders, the strangers or persons unrelated to the case has no locus standi in the case. It is a settled law and statute,” Rishi Malhotra said.Ali, an CPI (M) Member of Parliament (MP) – journalist Revati Laul and Prof Roop Rekha Verma, had moved the Supreme Court and challenged the Gujarat Government’s decision to grant remission to these 11 convicts for killing 14 persons and sexually assaulting pregnant Bilkis Bano during the 2002 post-Godhra riots.“It is quite evident that none of the petitioners in this case are related whatsoever to the said case and only happens to be either political activist or a third party stranger to the said case.

If such types of third party petitions are entertained by this Court, it would not only unsettle the settled position of law but would also open flood gates and would be an open invitation for any member of the public to jump in any criminal matter before any Court of law,” the affidavit, filed by 11 convicts before the Supreme Court, read.“Our (convicts) release is justified. The Gujarat government’s remission rules followed as per the Supreme Court’s order. The Supreme Court’s 1992 remission rules were being followed and as all the 11 convicts release was followed legally and under due procedure,” Malhotra said.Senior lawyer, Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioners, had submitted to the Apex Court that large number of lives were lost in the riots and consequently there was exodus of Muslim.Sibal had pleaded to the Supreme Court that this court should cancel and set aside the Gujarat Government’s remission order.Senior advocate Sibal, appearing for the petitioners, had told the Supreme Court that the remission order should not have been ordered by the Gujarat government in case of gangrape of pregnant woman. These are all brutal offences, he added.