New Delhi, August 28, 2022 (PPI-OT):A group of as many as 134 former civil servants have written an open letter to the Chief Justice of India, Uday Umesh Lalit, asking him to quash the Gujarat government’s order granting premature release to 11 persons convicted for the murder of 14 persons and gang rape of Bilkis Bano, during 2002 anti-Muslim riots in the state.
The seven-page letter by the Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG) says that the members are particularly puzzled by the manner in which the Apex Court asked the Gujarat government to urgently take a decision on a plea by one of the convicts for remission as per Gujarat’s 1992 policy, and not its current one.
The letter said surely the Supreme Court could not be unaware of the major changes in the punishment for rape and murder and the policy for remission which were made much more severe in 2014 after the Nirbhaya case, wondering, “Can persons who committed rape and murder in 2002 be less liable than persons who rape and murder at the present time?”
The group had pleaded to the CJI and requested him to rectify this horrendously wrong decision. “Like the overwhelming majority of people in our country, we are aghast at what happened in Gujarat a few days ago, on the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence. The premature release has outraged the nation. We write to you because we are deeply distressed by this decision,” they said.
The group contended that it was only the Supreme Court that had the prime jurisdiction, and hence the responsibility, to rectify this “horrendously wrong decision”. The retired bureaucrats who signed the letter included Harsh Mander, Aruna Roy, T K A Nair, Amitabha Pande, K Sujatha Rao and Wajahat Habibullah.
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