Hyderabad: Telangana Legislative Council member Kalvakuntla Kavitha has written to Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, requesting him to intervene so that the release of 11 convicts in Bilkis Bano rape case is withdrawn immediately.
Bilkis Bano was 21 and was pregnant when this gangrape took place during the 2002 Gujarat riots. On August 15, the Gujarat government released the 11 convicts
“Crimes such as rape shake the very core of our social conscience and seeing convicted rapists walk out freely on a day such as our Independence Day sends shivers down the spine of every woman and indeed every citizen who places their faith in the laws of the land and the justice system of our country,” wrote Kavitha, who is daughter of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.
“I implore the Honourable Supreme Court of India to save the nation’s faith in our laws and in humanity by intervening in this matter so that the decision of the release of the aforementioned convicts is withdrawn immediately,” she added.
Kavitha highlighted technical and legal points, noting that “this case was investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). It was the Special CBI Court that sentenced these convicts. Section 435 (1) (a) of the Criminal Procedure Code states that the power of the state government to remit or commute a sentence in any case which was investigated by the CBI shall not be exercised by the state government, except after consultation with the central government”.
She remarked whether the release of the 11 convicts, in this case, was done in consultation with the Central government is unclear.
The former MP said the Gujarat government relied on a 1992 policy, while the state government’s revised policy of 2014 following the Supreme Court order would have made the convicts ineligible for remission.
She recalled that the Supreme Court in its order of November 20, 2012 had observed that the remission powers of the appropriate government should not be exercised arbitrarily and should be exercised with some inherent procedural and substantive checks on the said power.
“Bilkis Bano was 21 years old and 5 months pregnant at the time when this heinous crime took place and to imagine her seeing her rapists walking free with impunity, then being garlanded and celebrated for release must have shattered her,” she added.