Hyderabad : TRS MLC, also Telangana CM’s daughter, writes to CJI NV Ramana on the Bilkis Bano case asking SC intervention and withdrawal of release of 11 rape-accused convicts. ‘Seeing convicted rapists walk out freely sends shivers down the spine of every woman,’she says.
Since the release of 11 convicts on August 15, 2022, in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case under the Gujarat government’s remission policy, the move is facing the wrath of activists and watchdogs. At the latest, TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samithi) MLC from Nizamabad, Kavitha Kalvakuntla, penned her predicament to the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and urged the top court to intervene in allowing the rapists to walk out freely of Godhra sub-jail.
In her letter, she called upon the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court to “undo the injustice” and ‘save the nation’s faith in laws and in humanity’ by revoking the release of the convicts.
Stating that the Supreme Court’s intervention is vital to the restoration of Bilkis Bano’s justice, she wrote, “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.”
She highlighted in her letter that the role of the central government in the release of the convicts is unclear while casting aspersions on whether the procedural and substantive checks were taken into account while releasing the 11 convicts.
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 in consultation with the central government,” the TRS MLC’s letter read.
Also, she alleged the Gujarat government of acting in ignorance of the Union Government’s guidelines as issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs as part of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ on April 21, 2022.
“In this guideline issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, special remission was specifically denied to the following category of convicts relevant in the case of Bilkis Bano: “(vi) Prisoners convicted for the offence of rape, human trafficking, and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act, 1956,” her letter mentioned.
She further empathised with the rape survivor, Bano, who was five months pregnant at the time of the crime and Kalvakuntla said that the release of her rapists would have ‘shattered’ her.