oppn parties Supreme Court Restores Faith In Rule Of Law

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Supreme Court Restores Faith In Rule Of Law

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2024-01-10 03:05:05

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator.

The Supreme Court has quashed the Gujarat government order granting remission of sentence to 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano rape case in which 7 of her family were also brutally murdered. They have been ordered to report to prison authorities within 15 days of the order. Saying that the Gujarat government was not the competent authority to decide on the remission as the trial was held in Maharashtra, the apex court said that the state government did not apply its mind before deciding to release the 11 convicts.

The court was scathing in its criticism of the Gujarat government which, it said, had used 'fraud' through misrepresentation of facts to use a Supreme Court 2022 directive to look into the situation of one of the convicts to grant remission of sentence to all convicts. The court nullified its 2022 direction on the grounds that it was 'misled by suppression of facts'. It said that although the Gujarat government acted on the basis of its 2022 direction, it was "contrary to the letter and spirit of law".

The court categorically said that it cannot "be left to the whims and fancies of the appropriate government either to seek or not to seek the opinion of the presiding judge or the court before which the conviction had taken place". In this case, the Gujarat government did not seek the opinion of the court in Maharashtra which had convicted the 11 accused.

It is good that the apex court acted to reverse the arbitrary and premeditated decision of the Gujarat government. In this case, the executive threw the legal process out of the window to fulfill its political agenda. It did not matter to it that the convicts were guilty of a heinous hate crime which bordered on the rarest of the rare description as it was a cold-blooded conspiracy against a family of the minority community. The Supreme Court, by sending the convicts back to prison, has restored the faith of the people in the rule of law.