This article is written by Upasana Sarkar, a student at Jogesh Chandra Chaudhuri Law College. This article gives a detailed analysis of the Bilkis Bano case and how the convicts were released on remission.        

It has been published by Rachit Garg.


In this article, we will discuss in detail Bilkis Yakub Rasool vs. Union Of India (2023), (“the Bilkis Bano case”). It happened at the time of the Godhra riots, which took place in 2002. This incident occurred after the Sabarmati massacre, in which about 60 Hindus were killed. They were the passengers on the Sabarmati train. They were going on a pilgrimage. The train was set on fire when it was in the district of Godhra. For this massacre, Hindu mobs went on a rampage. They were blaming Muslims for that incident. They attacked all the Muslims residing there and in the neighbourhoods. 

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This case is about a girl named Bilkis Bano, who belonged to the Muslim community. She was gang-raped during the time when she tried to flee with her family members. She was five months pregnant at the time she was raped. The violent mob not only raped her but also killed almost all the members of her family. 

This incident enraged people all over the country. For the commission of this crime, 11 of them were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. This verdict was passed by a division bench. The bench was composed of KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna as judges of the Supreme Court. The crimes committed by them were so ‘horrendous’ that the Court had to punish them with rigorous imprisonment. 

After a few years, in 2022, the prisoners were given a ‘Special Remission’ through a new module. It was an important part of the 75 years of independence celebration known as ‘Azadi Ka Mahotsav’. So, the 11 convicts were freed from prison after they completed a 14-year imprisonment sentence. Not only the victim, Bilkis Bano, was aggrieved by the decision of the Gujarat Government, but many other people in the country were against the acquittal judgement of the convicts. She submitted a petition against their premature release. 

This article will discuss in detail every stage of the case, i.e., conviction for rape, grant of remission; and the question of the convict’s right to practice law.  

Background of the case

The Bilkis Bano case took place at the time of communal riots that were happening between Hindus and Muslims. The incident occurred in Gujarat on 3rd March, 2002, in the district of Dahod. The victim, Bilkis Bano, was afraid of being caught up in such a situation, so she decided to flee there with all her family members. While trying to get away from there, they were captured by twenty to thirty Hindus. Then she and other women in her family were gang-raped by them. She was 21 years old and five months pregnant at that time. Not only was she raped, but seven of her family members were also murdered by the convicts. After learning about the incident, all the people in the state got enraged. Due to the occurrence of this incident, the government had to face heavy criticism from different sections of society. This dreadful incident again portrayed how crimes against women are increasing day by day in India. 

When that horrific incident occurred, she remained unconscious for more than three hours. After recovering from that state, she went to the police station to file a complaint. Before going to the police station, she borrowed some clothes from an Adivasi woman. Bilkis Bano contended that the police declined to add all the relevant information that was necessary for the case while registering the FIR. Therefore, not finding any other way, she went and reported about it to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and then to the Supreme Court, which asked for a CBI enquire. The NHRC played an important role in supporting the victim. In March 2002, J. S. Verma, the former Chief Justice of India, met Bilkis Bano in Godhra at a relief camp that was organised by the Human Rights Commission. The NHRC supported and helped her by providing a senior advocate and former Solicitor General as her counsel who would defend her before the Supreme Court. When the enquire began, within a month, the accused were arrested and produced before the Gujarat High Court. During that time, the accused made threats to kill her. Bano moved to the Supreme Court and spoke about the death threats that she was facing. So the Supreme Court decided to move that case from the Court of Gujarat to the Court of Maharashtra for a fair and unbiased investigation.

Investigation before the CBI inquiry

  • Before the CBI inquiry, no proper investigation was conducted by the police of the Gujarat police station in the initial stage.
  • The tampering of the evidence was done by conducting a medical examination after several days of the incident so that proper evidence could not be discovered. Purposely, the medical examination was delayed so that crucial and important evidence was lost. In the later stage,  It was proven in court, and so the police officers and the doctors were charged with tampering with evidence.
  • When Bilkis Bano went to register her complaint, the police initially refused to register the First Information Report (FIR). Later, when they did, they left important details and information about the incident while lodging the FIR.

Inquiry by the CBI

  • The Supreme Court directed the CBI to enquire into the matter when Bilkis Bano submitted a petition. It transferred the case to the Mumbai Sessions Court for a free and fair trial. 
  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted a proper inquiry and submitted a charge sheet where the names of 19 accused came to light, which included police officers and doctors who also tried to cover up the crimes that happened.
  • The CBI investigated the matter and prepared a report. They conducted a thorough investigation into that incident. They discovered all the relevant information that was required for the case. 
  • They also discovered some bodies of the victim’s family members without any skulls. Then the proceeding was held in the Mumbai Sessions Court.

Decision of the Mumbai Sessions Court

  • When she got death threats, she went to the Supreme Court to fight for justice. She reported that a proper investigation had not been done by the Gujarat police station. So the Apex Court ordered the transfer of the case to the Mumbai Sessions Court.
  • The Mumbai Sessions Court dealt with the case, and the trial began in 2008. 
  • The Mumbai Court passed its judgement in 2017, convicting 11 accused as the offenders of the crime, which also included a police officer. The rest of them were acquitted, as not enough evidence was present against them to show that they had committed the crime.
  • They were sentenced to rigorous life imprisonment and a fine for their crimes. So that people in the future will fear committing such dreadful crimes. They were held guilty under Section 302 and Section 376(2), which are to be read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
  • Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, deals with the offence of unlawful assembly. When more than five people join together with a common object and any member of that unlawful assembly commits an offence, all the members are considered guilty of that offence. In this case, about twenty to thirty people, in furtherance of a common object, gang-raped and murdered the family members of Bilkis Bano. So, they were convicted of committing rape and murder. 
  • The verdict given by the Sessions Court was affirmed by the Mumbai High Court in May 2017, and the Government of Gujarat was directed by the Supreme Court to provide the victim with a job, housing, and an amount of fifty lakh rupees. 
  • A police officer, one of the convicts in the case, was given a sentence of life imprisonment. The rest of the accused were sentenced to seven years imprisonment. The Court also ordered them to pay a fine of fifty lakh rupees.
  • In May 2017, the Bombay High Court upheld the life imprisonment sentence of the 11 convicts. Those who were released by the Trial Court as they had no direct involvement in the case were convicted by the High Court. They were acquitted from imprisonment by the Trial Court on the grounds that they were caught up in that situation and had no direct participation in the case.

Appeal to the Bombay High Court by the convicts and CBI

Convicts convicted by the Session Court appealed to challenge the judgement of the Session Court. The CBI, on the other hand, appealed for greater punishment for the convicts. They wanted the death penalty for the three main perpetrators of the offence.

Contentions of the victims

Advocate Shobha Gupta was acting as the lawyer of the petitioner, who contended that the crimes that the convicts had committed were pre-planned. They formed a criminal conspiracy to rape the victim and kill other members of her family. It was not something that they did on the spur of the moment. While the victim was fleeing with her family members, the convicts desperately chased them in order to catch them and murder them. The convicts were so bloodthirsty that they did not even hesitate to rape a five months pregnant woman. They gang-raped her so brutally that she lost consciousness. Not only did they rape her and other women in her family, but they also killed her first child by smashing her to death on a rock. After that, they gang-raped and killed the victim’s mother. They did not hesitate a single bit to kill her cousins, aunts, uncles, and four minor brothers and sisters. They have murdered them in such a way that they cannot be identified. All their heads and chests were smashed, and only seven of the victim’s family members’ bodies could be recovered. 

The petitioner argued that any person committing such an inhuman act does not deserve any leniency. The victim was constantly begging them for some mercy and requested that they leave. But the convicts did not even show them a bit of mercy. So the counsel concluded by saying that the Court should take into consideration the grievousness of the crime before passing any judgement in this case.

Contentions of the convicts

The convicts in this case submitted an appeal stating the facts that the victim had given birth to a child after that incident, which portrays that she had not been gang-raped as has been said. They also argued that the evidence shown by the CBI was all fabricated by them. There was no evidence that shows that the members of the victim’s family had been killed, as their bodies were not recovered, which would prove them guilty of the commission of murder. 

Decision of the Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court acquitted Bhagora and others but upheld the convictions of 11 other convicts in the case. The Trial Court released Bhagora and others, as they claimed that they had not participated in the crimes for which the conviction was passed. They were simply caught in the web of circumstances. So they were released from prison. The judgement of the Trial Court was reversed by the Bombay High Court. The Bombay High Court had charged five policemen and two doctors on the grounds of tampering with evidence under Section 201 and not performing their duties under Section 218 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860

However, HC has forbidden capital punishment, as it was held that the death penalty is awarded in the rarest of circumstances. 

Supreme Court’s decision on the appeal of the convicts 

After hearing both parties, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeals of the convicts. The appeals filed by the two doctors and four policemen were rejected on 10 July, 2017. The Supreme Court stated that the judgement of the Mumbai Sessions Court was in no way faulty as there was ‘clear-cut evidence’ against them. It also said that the High Court of Bombay had unreasonably acquitted the other convicts in the case. So the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Session Court and upheld the conviction of Bhagora and others who were acquitted earlier by the Trial Court.

Plea for remission

Radheshyam Shah, one of the convicts in the case, pleaded for his premature release in the Gujarat High Court after serving more than 14 years of his sentence in prison. But the Gujarat High Court rejected his petition and denied his premature release from jail. So, he moved to the Supreme Court and appealed there for his premature release by following the Gujarat government’s July 9, 1992 policy on remission.

Radheshyam approached the Apex Court and requested that it release him on remission as he had already spent 15 years and 4 months in prison. His lawyer argued that though he was given life imprisonment by a CBI Court in Mumbai, he has the right to apply for premature release on remission after completing 14 years in jail. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2008, and so he moved to the Court seeking remission as he had already completed a 14-year sentence that was considered the period of life imprisonment.

The Supreme Court, after hearing the convict’s arguments, gave the power to the Gujarat Government to decide whether he could be granted release in accordance with the 1992 Gujarat remission policy within two months or not.

Points to be highlighted 

  • The plea for remission was filed by one of the convicts in the Gujarat High Court in 2022 under Section 432 and Section 433 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
  • The Gujarat High Court could not accept the plea for remission as the case was not under its jurisdiction. Since the case was moved to the Mumbai Court and the trial was held there, the plea for remission can only be granted by the Mumbai Court.
  • When he moved to the Supreme Court with the plea for remission and pleaded that he had spent more than 15 years in prison, the Court held that the Gujarat High Court had the right to deal with the remission policy of the convict as Gujarat was the State of occurrence of the incident and the remission policy of the year 1992 would be followed and not the 2014 one.
  • A committee was formed by the government, as stated by the Supreme Court, to look into the issue of remission. The committee came to a unanimous decision in favour of the remission of all the convicts in the case and decided to grant them release. The Prime Minister of India approved their remission plea and ordered the premature release of all the convicts. This decision caused global outrage as the convicts had gang-raped a pregnant Muslim woman and murdered her family members without showing a bit of mercy.

Laws relating to remissions 

  • The approval to be released on remission can be granted by the Court only on certain grounds, such as birth or death anniversaries of prominent leaders. The prisoners can seek remission only if certain circumstances arise.
  • When a convict is sentenced to life imprisonment, it means that he should remain in prison for his entire life. However, the State and the central governments can release the convicts from prison only when they have served a sentence of 14 years imprisonment by remitting their prison term, but not before that. This act of releasing prisoners from jail by the government is known as remission.
  • The Constitution of India, under Article 72 and Article 161, gives power to the President and the Governor, respectively, to grant pardon, suspend, remit, or commute a sentence passed by a Court. The sentence must be commuted by these two dignitaries. The Judiciary has stated that when a prisoner is released from imprisonment by way of remission, the Court must be informed about it, and the grounds for release must be reasonable and fair. The decision must not be taken arbitrarily.
  • Section 432 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 grants power to the State Government to release a prisoner by granting remission, as prisons are considered a state subject. However, this power to remit prisoners from jail has certain limitations that are given in Section 433A of the CrPC.
  • Section 433A states that a prisoner serving a sentence of life imprisonment for a crime where the punishment of death has been commuted cannot be given the benefit of remission unless he has completed a term of 14 years imprisonment.

Remission policy of Gujarat

This policy states that for initiating the process of remission, the opinion of the district magistrate, chairman of the jail, and police officer of the concerned district needs to be taken into consideration by the inspector general, as well as the report of the advisory board committee and the behaviour of the convicts. But the 2014 Remission Policy bars the government from granting remission to the prisoners by prematurely releasing them for a heinous offence like rape or murder that has been investigated by the CBI. 

In short, it can be concluded that the prisoners got remission only because the 1992 remission policy was followed. If the new one was followed, then the convicts would not have been released, as the release is barred under this 2014 remission policy.

Reasons for consideration of the 1992 remission policy

The proceedings in the Bilkis Bano case started in 2004 in Mumbai after its transfer from Gujarat. The 11 convicts in the case were released on remission by following the 1992 remission policy because the Supreme Court had decided that this policy would be prevalent for all cases up to the year 2008, and these convicts were sentenced in 2004. It was prevalent at the time of the convicts’ conviction. So when the appeal was filed in the Supreme Court of India, it directed the Gujarat High Court to follow the 1992 remission policy and not the 2014 one. 

All cases whose judgements were given after 2008 would follow the 2014 remission policy. This 2014 remission policy puts limitations on the government’s release of prisoners who are convicted of rape and murder. So, the Gujarat Government has the power to decide whether to release the convicts or not. 

Remission awarded in Bilkis Bano case

All the convicts were granted remission as they had completed 14 years of their sentence. So they were released from prison on 15th August, 2022. This release of the convicts on the day of independence enraged all the people globally, leading to a mass revolt against the government’s decision. This decision of the government was criticised by journalists, activists, opposition parties, and many more. They were released on the grounds of ‘good conduct’ by the prisoners. The 1992 remission policy was followed while releasing them from jail.

Criticism of the release of the convicts

  • Bilkis Bano and other family members who survived the attack criticised the release of those criminals by remission and decided to submit a petition to the Supreme Court challenging the decision.
  • This case was one of the landmark cases against communal rights and crimes against women that are happening every day in some parts of the country.
  • This remission was criticised by many journalists, activists, and politicians as these convicts were released after committing such inhuman crimes against innocent people.

Review petition filed by Bilkis Bano and other PILs against remissions 

When Bilkis Bano learned about the release of the convicts on remission, she filed a review petition in the Supreme Court. Several other people, such as CPI(M) leader Subhashini Ali, independent journalist Revati Laul, former vice-chancellor of Lucknow University Roop Rekha Verma, and Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, also submitted a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the ground of remission of the 11 convicts by the Gujarat government, which allowed them to walk out of jail freely after committing the horrendous crime of gangraping the victim and all the women in her family and murdering 14 family members. In any case, it is not the duty of the Government to exercise its power in the interest of the public or in favour of the convicts. This grant of remission was challenged before the Supreme Court on 23rd August, 2022.

When all the convicts were released from prison on 15th August 2022, Advocate Shobha Gupta, the counsel of Bilkis Bano, filed a review petition against the premature release of Radheshyam Shah, Jasvantbhai Nai, Govindbhai Nai, Bipin Chandra Joshi, Shailesh Bhatt, Kesarbhai Vohania, Bakabhai Vohania, Pradeep Mordhiya, Mitesh Bhatt, Rajubhai Soni, and Ramesh Chandana, the 11 convicts in the case.

Many Public Interest Litigations (PILs) were filed against the decision to release those convicts who had committed such heinous crimes. Indira Jaising, the Senior Advocate, was the counsel in one such PIL. The Supreme Court decided to hear all the arguments of people who filed PILs in the Bilkis Bano case and decide whether they had locus standi to submit them. Sidharth Luthra, the Senior Advocate who was the counsel of one of the convicts, argued that others had no right to file PILs where the petitioner herself was present in court and had already submitted a petition against the premature release of the convicts.

Response of the Convicts on review petition against remission 

Sonia Mathur, advocate of Bipin Chandra Joshi, who was another convict, argued that only the state alone has the right to challenge the decision of the court. The victim has no right to do it. She also argued that his client is not liable for the government’s decision. The State should be held accountable for its mistake in granting remission. She further stated that she knows the incident that happened with the victim cannot be undone by paying compensation. But she was given a job, accommodation, and compensation that is so far the highest in any rape case as a matter of the right of the victim as opposed to the rights of the convict. 

Mathur also contended that the convicts have been released from prison only after they have fulfilled all those conditions that are necessary for premature release, and no outsiders have any right to file PILs as they do not have the locus standi to interfere at the remission stage. She also upheld the decisions of various top Courts that have passed judgement in favour of the premature release of convicts on remission.

Response of the Supreme Court

After hearing the arguments of Adv. Mathur, the bench questioned why the jails of India are still so crowded if, in fact, all the prisoners who have completed 14 years of sentence are released on remission in the view of reforming them. The Advocate further informed the Court about the illness of Joshi’s wife. His wife was suffering from cancer. She also told the Court that the portion of his compensation, which is Rs. 6,000, had already been paid in 2019, and no objection was made by the Trial Court while accepting the fine. The Bilkis Bano case hearing was decided to resume again on 31st August, 2023.

The Supreme Court asked various questions to the Gujarat Government about the release of convicts on remission.

  • It was asked whether they had considered the gravity of the offences that the convicts had committed before releasing them.
  • It was also asked whether the convicts were granted parole frequently or not at the time of their life imprisonment sentence.
  • The Court also questioned if the Gujarat Government had applied the uniform standards that are followed in other cases of murder while releasing the convicts in a murder case.
  • The Apex Court asked the Gujarat Government whether they had kept in mind the intensity of the crimes that had been committed by the convicts while granting them release by showing leniency.

Current status of the review petition 

When the Gujarat Government prematurely released the 11 convicts in the case on remission, Bilkis Bano filed a review petition against the order of the Gujarat Government. On 18th April, 2023, the Supreme Court of India slammed the Gujarat Government for the premature release of the rape and murder accused convicts. It was the duty of the Government to understand the gravity of a case before releasing any convicts from prison. The Supreme Court observed that they should not have been released from jail after committing such horrendous offences. Those persons who gang-raped a pregnant woman and other women in her family and murdered her family members had no right to get out of prison. 

Justice K. M. Joseph stated that it is the Government’s responsibility to exercise its power in a way that is beneficial for the people of the State. He went further and asked the Gujarat Government whether they were comparing the murder of 14 helpless people who were the victim’s family members with the murder of a single person. He also said that a massacre can in no way be compared with the murder of a single person. 

The Gujarat government and the Centre decided to challenge the order passed by the Court. So they required all the relevant documents related to remission. It was done by them by submitting a review petition on 27th March, 2023. But the bench was strongly against such a proposal. Hence, they disapproved of it. The Supreme Court gave them time so that they could decide whether to submit the review petition or not. The Court also asked them for a time extension of parole that has been granted to the convicts during their life imprisonment sentence. It was also observed by the Court that the State Government’s power to grant remission could not be amended by judicial review unless and until the remission order was given arbitrarily by the government.

Rights of convicts to practice the legal profession

The matter about the right of the convicts to practice the legal profession came to light when Radheshyam Shah, while defending his premature release on remission, said that he had completed more than 15 years of life imprisonment in jail from the total sentence, and he was given relief by the Gujarat Government for his good conduct. Advocate Malhotra, Radheyshyam Shah’s counsel, stated that there was not a single case filed against his client within a year of his release from jail. He used to practice as a lawyer in a tribunal Court who claimed compensation in motor accident cases. After his release, he again started practicing law. 

The Court stated that he is only released from jail on remission, which means that his sentence is reduced. But that does not mean he is not a convict. Being a convict, he has no right to practice law unless the Bar Council of India (BCI) grants him the license to practice, as law is supposed to be a noble profession. So, the Court asked his lawyer whether he got that license or not. His lawyer said that he had no knowledge of it. 

Applicable provisions of the Advocates Act

According to Section 24A of the Advocates Act, 1961, any person who is convicted of an offence that involves moral turpitude is prohibited from enrolling as an advocate. This Section states that he will be again qualified to practice as a lawyer when two years have passed since the person was released or dismissed. It means that his disqualification would be removed after the lapse of two years from his date of release. It was also contended by Advocate Malhotra that the Government of Gujarat agreed to release him only after getting no objection from Godhra’s Jail Superintendent and the remission committee, along with the recommendations and approval of his premature release from the Home Department and the Union government.

Highlights of the case

  • This incident took place after the Sabarmati train massacre, where two bogies of the train were burned, in which Karsevaks were returning from Ayodhya. It killed 59 Karsevaks on February 27, 2002.
  • On 3rd March, 2022, a riot broke out in Limkheda taluka of Gujarat’s Dahod District. After seeing the convicts setting fire to homes on Bakr-Id day and robbing the possessions of the Muslims, Bilkis Bano, who was a resident of Radhikapur village in Dahod district, decided to flee. 
  • Bilkis Bano, the victim of the case, ran away with her fifteen family members, which included her three-and-a-half-year-old girl, and took shelter in Chapparwad village. They stayed in a field that was connected to a dirt track going towards Pannivella village.
  • While fleeing from the village, they were attacked by about twenty to thirty people who assaulted and gang-raped Bilkis Bano, her mother, and three other women in her family. Of the 17-member group of Muslims from Radhikapur village, all were murdered except a man and a three-year-old child. Eight of their bodies had been recovered, whereas others were smashed in such a way that they could not have been identified.
  • Between 2002 and 2003, when Bilkis Bano tried to register a complaint against the accused, the local police officers constantly refused to register it, stating that she was unable to provide proper evidence. Not only that, they even threatened her to drop the case or else they would take legal action against her. 
  • In December 2003, Bilkis Bano had no other option but to approach the Supreme Court of India, where she filed a guilty plea. 
  • The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Supreme Court took up the case and directed a CBI investigation.
  • In January 2004, the CBI, after a thorough investigation, gathered all the evidence and arrested all the accused against whom the complaint was registered.
  • In August 2004, Bilkis Bano stated her concern about the chances of the evidence being tampered with. The witnesses in the case had also been threatened, so they might also face potential harm. Therefore, the case was moved from Ahmedabad to Mumbai.
  • In January 2008, the Mumbai Sessions Court held the accused guilty of criminal conspiracy, raping Bilkis Bano, and murdering her family members. So 11 of them were awarded life imprisonment for committing these crimes. They appealed to the High Court, requesting that it reverse the decree of the Trial Court.
  • In July 2011, the CBI submitted a petition and requested the Bombay High Court to hang the convicts in the case.
  • In July 2016, the Bombay High Court decided to hear the case of the convicts who had filed an appeal in the High Court against the decree of the Trial Court where they were punished for gang-raping the victim and murdering her family members.
  • In September 2016, the Bombay High Court refused the request of the convict’s lawyer, who wanted to re-examine the witnesses in the case.
  • In December 2016, the decision of the Trial Court was reversed by the Bombay High Court. It was done on the basis of an appeal submitted to the High Court by the accused in the case, who were punished with life imprisonment. The High Court did not affirm the appeal petition submitted by the CBI to hang three convicts in the case because the death penalty is awarded in the rarest of the rare cases.
  • In May 2017, the Bombay High Court, after hearing both sides, affirmed the life imprisonment of the 11 convicts in the case that was awarded by the Trial Court.
  • On 15 May, 2022, one of the convicts submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court, stating that he had served a sentence of more than 15 years in prison. So he filed an appeal in the Apex Court, requesting that it grant him a release.
  • On the day of Independence, all the convicts in the case were released from prison. On 15th August, 2022, the Gujarat High Court, following the 1992 remission policy, freed them from Godhra jail. 
  • On 7th August, 2023, the Supreme Court decided to hear the pleas against the release of convicts on remission.


In India, crimes against women are increasing day by day. The case of Bilkis Bano is also one such case where the men portrayed anger by raping women who were not at all part of the Sabarmati massacre. This case caused an outrageous revolt against crimes like rape and murder that are happening against women in this country. This case portrayed how the courts of India failed to provide justice to these innocent victims. The decision of the Gujarat Government was criticised as they released those rapists and murderers on the day of Independence. The Gujarat Government released them on 15th August, 2022. When the convicts appealed for premature release, the remission policy of 1992 was followed instead of the 2014 one, and as a result, they were acquitted. The Supreme Court of India, which directed the Gujarat High Court to release those convicts, also had to face criticism from the people from different spheres of society. The justice system in our country is working in a way that favours criminals and not innocent victims. The convicts were released because of the implementation of the 1992 remission policy. Though the new guidelines for the remission policy of 2014 were adopted in Gujarat, they were not implemented for the prisoners in the Bilkis Bano case. Seeing that, a writ was submitted under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. However, the Supreme Court stated that it would not be applicable in this case. Therefore, the old remission policy favoured those rape-accused criminals, and Bilkis Bano lost the fight.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the new norms that are included in the remission policy?

The new norms grant remission to some specific prisoners, which are as follows-

  • The prisoners were either women or transgender and had reached the age of 50 years.
  • The male prisoners who had served fifty percent of their sentence in prison and had completed the age of 60 years, where the period of general remission would not be taken into consideration.
  • The physically challenged or disabled prisoners who had served fifty percent of their jail sentence with seventy percent disability.
  • The prisoners who are terminally ill.
  • The prisoners had already completed two-thirds of their jail sentence, which is six percent of the total term.
  • The indigent prisoners who have completed their sentence but are still in prison. The reason is that they are too poor to pay the fine imposed on them. So the new norm waives off the fine for these poor prisoners.
  • Prisoners with no past criminal records who have committed an offence at a young age, which is between 18 and 21 years and have completed fifty percent of their jail sentence are also eligible to be released on remission.

What are the exceptions to the new norms of the remission policy?

The above people are eligible to be released on remission. But the following people would not be eligible to be released on remission-

Whether the remission of a prisoner can be challenged?

In the recent case of Smt. Shireen v. State of U.P. (2022), the Allahabad High Court observed that remission means releasing a prisoner earlier before the completion of his sentence. In short, remission reduces the sentence of a prisoner through an administrative process. Therefore, the premature release of a convict on remission can be challenged in a Court of Law.

What are the grounds on which remission can be granted?

In the case of Laxman Naskar v. Union of India (2000), the Supreme Court stated the grounds that should be taken into consideration before releasing any prisoners on remission. The court should determine-

  • Whether the incident that occurred is an individual act of offence or affects society as a whole. 
  • Whether the prisoner who has committed a crime has any chance of repeating that crime in the future or not.
  • Whether the prisoner has enough potential to commit that crime again or has lost it.
  • Whether the purpose of keeping the convict in prison has been served properly or not. 
  • the socio-economic status of the family members of the prisoners must also be taken into consideration.


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