The CJI said he will examine whether both pleas can be heard together and if they can be heard by the same bench. The CJI, however, verbally observed that the review plea needs to be heard first.
When Gupta insisted that the review plea needs to be heard in an open court, the CJI responded that only the concerned bench can decide that. A bunch of public interest litigations are already in the Supreme Court challenging the release of the 11 convicts. The Gujarat government has defended the release. In its response, the Gujarat government had said that it decided to release all the 11 convicts in the case as per a 1992 remission policy since they completed more than 14 years in prison and their behaviour was found to be good.
It had further said that the Union home ministry had approved the release of the convicts. The Gujarat government’s response had further said that the Central Bureau of Investigation and the trial court, which heard the case, had opposed the Gujarat government’s proposal to release the 11 convicts.
The state has also questioned the locus of the petitioners, arguing that they cannot file petitions in a matter between state, convicts and survivor.
The 11 convicts sentenced to life imprisonment for gangrape and murder of seven members of Bilkis Bano’s family were released on Independence Day.