After Justice Bela M Trivedi recused on Tuesday, the Supreme Court on Wednesday refused an early bench to hear Bilkis Bano against the remission to 11 life-term convicts. Advocate Shobha Gupta, appearing for her, sought another bench to hear the case, but Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, sitting on a bench with Justice PS Narasimha, said: “The writ will be listed. Please, do not keep mentioning the same again and again. It is very irritating.”
He will have to set up a fresh bench after the woman judge recused. The top court is proceeding on a winter vacation just after two more days of hearing this week and so the case may come up only in the new year.
The petition is against remission to all 11 convicts on August 15 by the Gujarat government after the Supreme Court asked it to do so in two months. Bilkis Bano was 21-year-old and five months pregnant when she was gang-raped while fleeing the riots that broke out after the Godhra train burning incident. Her three-year-old daughter was among seven family members killed at that time.
The investigation in the case was 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 11 men convicted in the case walked out of the Godhra sub-jail on August 15 after the Gujarat government allowed their release under its remission policy. They had completed more than 15 years in jail.