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Wed. Sep 28th, 2022
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NEW DELHI: The SC Friday asked the Gujarat government to file in two weeks all records pertaining to the grant of remission of sentence to 11 convicts who had served more than 15 years in the Bilkis Bano case, related to the murders of 14 persons and gang rape of several women during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The SC asked the released convicts to file their responses to a PIL filed by politician-activist Subhasini Ali, journalist Revati Laul and social activist Roop Rekha Verma even when counsel Rishi Malhotra, appearing for one of the released lifers, protested that the petitioners, being third parties, had no locus in a criminal case. Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra too has filed a PIL challenging the grant of remission to the lifers. The bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and B V Nagarathna posted the hearing after three weeks.
Interestingly, another bench of the Supreme Court on Friday said it is a settled principle that third parties, unconnected to a criminal case, can have no locus standi and cannot be allowed to intervene.
Justice J K Maheshwari, in his judgment related to a plea for transfer of 16 criminal cases pending in various courts across the country, said, “It is a settled principle of law in criminal jurisprudence that intervention application filed by a third party should not be ordinarily be allowed in criminal cases unless the court is satisfied that on the grounds on which the person seeking intervention is directly or substantially related to the case and the question of law which may affect him adversely; or in the opinion of the court, joining intervenor in the case is expedient in public interest.”
Justice Maheshwari rejected the application for intervention in the transfer of 16 cases pleaded by the accused and said, “Nothing is averred in the application, how non-joining of the applicant may cause prejudice or affect the public interest. The applicant is neither a complainant in any of the cases of which transfer is being sought, nor he has any direct involvement or ground for his joining in public interest. The intervenor has no locus to intervene in the present petition.”
In the Bilkis Bano case, the bench of Justices Rastogi and Nagarathna while seeking response from the convicts, asked Malhotra to take instruction whether he would represent all of them before the SC.
During the last hearing on August 25, the SC had taken exception to the PIL petitioners not making the 11 accused parties and had ordered them to move an application for adding them as respondents. The application for impleading the convicts as parties was filed on September 8 and Malhotra said that notices were required to be sent to the convicts who were granted remission. The SC issued notices to them and posted hearing in the matter after three weeks.

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