Why SC Verdict On Bilkis Bano Case Is Victorious For Womanhood

The Supreme Court, by quashing the remission, has given us hope that justice has not died. However, there is still a problem. Will women get justice only after fighting a long battle?

Rudrani Gupta
New Update

In March 2002, during the Godhra riots, Bilkis Bano's life changed forever. Then she was five months pregnant and was gangraped. Seven members of her family were killed. After a long trial, 11 accused of the gangrape were convicted. However, in August 2022, the 11 accused were set free under Gujarat's remission policy.  Not only this, the accused were welcomed with garland and tilak, leaving Bano helpless and unsafe. But today marked a new beginning for Bano as the Supreme Court quashed Gujarat's remission policy and asked the accused to surrender back to jail. 


The Supreme Court's judgement

The bench of Justices B. V. Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan deemed the PIL challenging the remission admissible and stated that the Gujarat government did not have the authority to issue the remission order.

The apex court also slammed the Gujarat government for passing remission orders for convicts without application of mind in the rape case of Bilkis Bano and the murder of her family.

In its judgement, the Supreme Court made some empowering statements. It said, "Breach of rule of law amounts to negation of right to equality. Rule of law means no one, how highsoever, is above the law. There can be no rule of law if there is no equality. Court has to step in to enforce the rule of law." Moreover, it also said, "Courts have to be mindful not just of the spelling of JUSTICE but also the content of it. If the convicts can circumvent the consequences of their conviction, peace and tranquillity in society will be reduced to a chimaera."

The court justified the withholding of the remission of the convicts saying, "They have lost their right to liberty once they were convicted and imprisoned. Also, if they want to seek remission again, it is important that they have to be in jail."

The bench also called out the Gujarat government for its remission policy. It said it had no competence to decide about the remission of the convicts in this case. It is only the state where the incident happened or where the offenders were imprisoned (which is Maharashtra) that had the authority to decide in this case. 


Furthermore, speaking about the importance of punishment to cure injustice. It said, "Punishment is not for vengeance but for reformation." It further added that a woman deserves respect and it is doubtful if heinous crimes against women can be remitted. 

Why the judgement is important 

The judgement plays a crucial role in safeguarding the rights and safety of women in our country. When Bano's rapists were released, it showed how our society is negligent towards a woman's pain. It doesn't consider crimes like rape serious, but just another dent due to the ill fate of a woman. Those who convict such crimes have a mentality of suppressing women and treating them as battlegrounds. They don't see women as equals or even as human beings, but just as walking sex objects. If mentalities like these are encouraged by making laws lenient or negligent, it will spread like an epidemic and make society unsafe for women. So it is very important to keep the laws against rape and other crimes against women strict.

The Supreme Court, by quashing the remission, has given us hope that justice has not died. However, there is still a problem. Will women get justice only after fighting a long battle? Yes, the rights of the convicts matter. But that doesn't mean we unleash additional trauma from trials on women survivors. The process of justice needs to speed up and become efficient so that neither a survivor goes without justice nor a convict is sentenced unlawfully.    

Personal views by the author are their own

Supreme Court of India Bilkis Bano gang rape case Gujarat riots 2002 Bilkis Bano convicts