How did the 11 life convicts of the Bilkis Bano case walk free?

The Supreme Court directed the Gujarat Government to look into the issue of remission of his sentence. The Gujarat Government formed a committee

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  17 Aug 2022 10:52 AM GMT
How did the 11 life convicts of the Bilkis Bano case walk free?

Hyderabad: In the sensational 2002 Bilkis Bano gang rape case, 11 life convicts were freed on 15th August, 2022. The 11 life convicts are Jaswant Nai, Govind Nai, Shailesh Bhatt, Radhyesham Shah, Bipin Chandra Joshi, Kesarbhai Vohania, Pradeep Mordhiya, Bakabhai Vohania, Rajubhai Soni, Mitesh Bhatt and Ramesh Chandana.

What was the legal procedure for freedom?

The accused were arrested in 2004 and the trial began in Ahmedabad. The evidence collected could be tampered with and Supreme Court transferred the case to Mumbai. The Special CBI Court, on 21 January 2008, sentenced them to life on the charges of conspiring to rape a pregnant woman, murder and unlawful assembly. Seeking remittance of the life sentence, convict Radheshyam Shah, approached the Gujarat High Court.

The High Court dismissed his petition while observing that the "appropriate government" has to take a decision about his remission, that is Maharashtra Government and not Gujarat. Radheshyam Shah filed a plea in the Supreme Court, informing that he had been in jail for 15 years without remission. The case was discussed on 1st April 2022.

The Supreme Court directed the Gujarat Government to look into the issue of remission of his sentence. The Gujarat Government formed a committee.

The committee took a unanimous decision in favour of remission of all 11 convicts in the case. The recommendation was sent to the State Government which decided to free all of them on 15th August 2022. They were in Godhra Sub-Jail. During the case trial, one accused died and seven other accused were acquitted due to lack of evidence.

Bilkis Bano case

During the Gujarat riots of February 2002, fearing violence in her village Randhikpur, Bilkis Bano along with 15 members of her family took refuge in a field at Chhaparvad district. She was pregnant. Her three-year-old daughter, mother and sister were with her.

On 3rd March 2002, men armed with sickles, swords and sticks attacked them. Bilkis Bano, along with her mother and 3 other women were raped and assaulted.

The attack left eight dead and six people missing. Bilkis and her three-year-old baby survived. She went to Limkheda police station to register a complaint after getting help from local women's group. Her medical examination was conducted in a public hospital in Godhra relief camp. The case was investigated by CBI after it was taken up by the National Human Rights Commission and hearings in the Supreme Court.

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