Supreme Court Invalidates Remission for Bilkis Bano’s Rapists

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January 9, 2024

Supreme Court Invalidates Remission for Bilkis Bano’s Rapists


  • The Supreme Court has reversed the release of 11 convicts involved in the horrific gangrape case of Bilkis Bano during the 2002 Gujarat riots. This decision overturns the Gujarat government’s granting of remission, which the court deemed illegal. The crucial ruling highlighted the issue of jurisdiction in determining such remissions, emphasizing that the state where the convicts were sentenced holds the authority for such decisions.

Jurisdictional Dispute: Gujarat’s Role in Remission

  • The core question revolved around whether Gujarat possessed the authority to grant remission, considering the crime occurred in its territory but the trial took place in Maharashtra. The Supreme Court asserted that the state where the trial occurred holds the jurisdiction over remission, not necessarily the state where the offense was committed or the convicts were imprisoned.

Understanding Remission Laws and Grounds

  • Remission of sentences is governed by constitutional provisions under Articles 72 and 161, empowering the President and Governors to pardon, suspend, or commute sentences. Additionally, Section 432 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) grants states the power for remission, subject to restrictions outlined in Section 433A.
  • The grounds for remission involve a thorough consideration of various factors, including the nature of the crime, behavior in prison, societal impact, and the convict’s potential for recidivism. The Supreme Court, in ‘Laxman Naskar v. Union of India,’ identified specific grounds guiding remission decisions.

Bilkis Bano Case: Legal Proceedings and Policy Implications

  • One of the convicts, Radheshyam Shah, sought premature release based on Gujarat’s 1992 remission policy. However, the Supreme Court directed the Gujarat government to consider his application within the framework of Maharashtra’s jurisdiction due to the trial’s location.
  • Gujarat’s remission policy underwent legal scrutiny, with the SC invalidating the 1992 policy and necessitating a revised policy in 2014. The convicts’ release triggered public outrage and a plea from Bilkis Bano, highlighting the gravity of the crime and the perceived miscarriage of justice.

Conclusion: Repercussions and Legal Arguments

  • The release of the convicts prompted public outcry and legal challenges due to the severity of the crime. The dispute raised questions about jurisdiction, remission policies’ validity, and the executive’s role in granting remissions, underscoring the complexities surrounding such cases.
  • The Supreme Court’s ruling clarifies the importance of considering the jurisdiction of the trial court in decisions related to remission, emphasizing a nuanced understanding of legal frameworks governing such cases.

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Supreme Court Invalidates Remission for Bilkis Bano’s Rapists | Vaid ICS Institute