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Supreme Court Commences Hearing on Bilkis Bano's Challenge to the Early Release of 11 Convicts

The premature release of 11 individuals who were given life sentences for the murder is being contested in a number of petitions before the Supreme Court, including one from Ms Bano.

The Supreme Court was informed on Monday that the defendants in the Bilkis Bano gang-rape case and the death of seven of her family members during the 2002 Gujarat riots pursued her with a "bloodthirsty approach" in order to hunt out and murder Muslims. Advocate Shobha Gupta, speaking on behalf of Bilkis Bano, stated she was savagely gang-raped when she was pregnant and that her first child was crushed to death by a rock as she opened the case's arguments. The petition was contesting the remission that had been given to all 11 offenders last year.

The matter had been heard by many Benches of the high court, yet it steadfastly remained unwinnable. At one point in the case, the Supreme Court even questioned if some of the freed criminals were "mocking" or even "playing" the court by going undercover to prevent the delivery of notice of the case or by requesting further time to file counter-affidavits.

The CBI had opposed the prisoners' early release, Gupta said, arguing that it would send the incorrect message to society at large and that the crime was of such a type that it could not be absolved. Gupta opposed the remission awarded to the inmates. On Tuesday, the hearing will resume. The highest court set August 7 as the commencement date for the last hearing on a batch of pleas contesting the pardons given to all 11 of the case's defendants last year.

The top court had ordered on May 9 that notifications against offenders who were unable to be served notices be published in local media, including those in Gujarati and English.

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