Justice Rastogi’s Remarks Downplaying Bilkis Case Come under Severe Censure

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Justice Rastogi had said, “Merely because the act was horrific, is that sufficient to say remission is wrong?

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – A number of prominent people has criticised the Supreme Court on social media after Justice Ajay Rastogi made observations underplaying the gravity of the crime while hearing petitions challenging the release of rape and murder convicts in the Bilkis Bano’s case.

On 15 August, eleven convicts, who were sentenced to life imprisonment for raping pregnant Bilkis Bano and massacring her family members during 2002 Gujarat pogrom, were released by the Gujarat government.

On Thursday, while hearing the petition, advocate Kapil Sibal mentioned the fact that in the case, pregnant women were raped, 14 people were killed and a three-year-old child was killed by smashing her head on the ground.

In response to Sibal’s statements, Justice Rastogi said “Merely because the act was horrific, is that sufficient to say remission is wrong?”

He even went on to observe that “day in and day out remission is granted to convicts of life sentence, what is the exception”.

These observations from a Supreme Court judge on such a gruesome crime have sent shockwaves among the concerned citizens.

Reacting to Justice Rastogi’s remarks, former chairman of Delhi Minority Commission (DMC) Zafarul Islam Khan said that in the Bilkis case, the convicts should have been given death penalty as it was given in the Nirbhaya case.

“In this case, even life sentence was not honoured,” said Khan.

Prominent Bollywood actress Richa Chaddha took a dig at the word “merely” used by Justice Rastogi to underplay the gravity of the crime and pointed to what kind of the crime has been committed in the Bilkis’ case.

“Dying soul of a country is mere spectacle too …Tsk tsk! Look away! Doesn’t affect you,” said Chaddha.

Prominent woman activist Kavita Krishnan asked people to join the protest against the release of convicts and tell Justice Rastogi that “Remission for men who feel no remorse & are instead GARLANDED for those horrific acts, is WRONG”.

A protest has been called on Saturday to oppose the release of the convicts.

World renowned journalist Rana Ayyub pointed to the gravity of the crime by using “merely”.

“My Lord Justice Rastogi, please tell the world what is sufficient to say remission is wrong. Being #SanskariBrahmin, Being Out on Parole and Terrifying Victims, Garlanding the rapists and #MassMurderers, Having no Remorse and Does Not Repent to the Act, Having Barbaric Mindset,” tweeted CPI-M Maharashtra.

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