They opposed a plea for quashing of their remission, saying they had already spent around 15 years in jail.
Appearing for one of the convicts, senior advocate Siddharth Luthra invoked the SC’s latest verdict where it held that the nature of offence could not be a consideration for deciding premature release.‘Bilkis case convicts were cut off for 15 yrs’
The Supreme Court bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan made the observation on “privilege” of some prisoners to get remission when senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, appearing for one of the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case, submitted that the law had taken its course against them as they had remained cut off from the world for 15 years.
In its August verdict, Supreme Court said that governments should not be guided only by the severity of offence committed by a convict to deny him premature release and, also, that the opinion of the trial court or the police based on judicial record of the case cannot be the sole ground to reject remission plea. While deciding a plea filed by a convict who had spent 24 years in jail in a triple murder case, the court ruled the decision on remission should not be taken on the basis of same judicial record, adding that the remission policy should be guided by the “reformative” concept of justice and not by “retributive” and the focus should be on the “criminal and not the crime”.
Continuing with his submission, Luthra also said that non-payment of penalty by the convicts, which was imposed at the time of conviction, would not affect the remission.
The court was hearing a batch of petitions filed by social activists and politicians soon after all 11 convicts in the case were granted remission and released on August 15 last year. CPM leader Subhashini Ali, Revati Laul, an independent journalist, Roop Rekha Verma, former vice-chancellor of Lucknow University, and TMC MP Mahua Moitra are some of the petitioners who moved the Supreme Court against the remission. Later on, Bilkis Bano also moved Supreme Court against the remission.