In the case of Bilkis Yakub Rasool vs Union of India and ors appeals opposing the Gujarat government’s decision to shorten the sentences of 11 prisoners who had gang-raped Bilkis Bano and killed her family members during the 2002 riots.
The public interest litigation (PIL) applications opposing the remission, according to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, are maintainable. He argued that engaging in PIL (Public Interest Litigation) over such a matter would create an unfavourable precedent. The matter relates to 11 remissions, he stated If applications from X, Y, and Z are approved, a dangerous legal precedent will be established. Not just in this instance, it shouldn’t set a standard. As a result, he asked the court to first hear from the governments regarding where the petitioners (other than Bano) should file such PILs.
Analysis of the Judgement
The Bilkis Bano gang rape convicts’ attempt to prevent the current court from hearing the case challenging their remission was met with disapproval by the Supreme Court bench of Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna. The bench acknowledged the horrific nature of the crime committed against Bano and her family members but emphasised that the matter would be resolved in accordance with the law. The Court noted the SG’s argument that the Central and State governments will not file a review petition challenging the court’s order for the submission of the remission files as requested during the prior hearing.
The bench made the statement in response to the convicts’ attorneys’ request for an extension so they could file their counter affidavits, some of which claimed that the petitioner’s attorney had not properly served his clients with notice.