Following the release of 11 people convicted for the rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of several individuals (including killing Bilkis’s three-year-old daughter) in the 2002 Gujarat riots, Justice UD Salvi the trial judge who convicted the men, said the Gujarat government has set a bad precedent.
Salvi further remarked that such a decision could allow other rape convicts to seek similar relief. The former judge remarked that it is ironic for the Gujarat government to set the rape convicts free at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged people to respect women.
Justice Salvi conducted the trial of the convicts in 2008, handing them a life term. While hearing the case, he acquitted seven other accused. The conviction of 11 persons was upheld in May 2017 by a Bombay high court comprising Justices Vijaya Tahilramani and Mridula Bhatkar.
It is to be noted that the Gujarat government granted remission to the convicts based on a 1992 policy. The Supreme Court had approved a new policy formulated in 2014, which invalidated the previous one.
“I am given to understand that the Supreme Court had ordered the state government to consider the pleas of these convicts under the 1992 policy. Still…how can the top court of our nation can allow such a decision?” Salvi was quoted by Bar and Bench.