The Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned whether the right of a convict to seek remission of his sentence of imprisonment fell under any of the fundamental rights in the Constitution [Bilkis Yakub Rasool v. Union of India and ors]..The Court posed the question while hearing the petitions challenging the early release of convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case.The petitions before the Court have challenged the decision of the Gujarat government to grant remission to 11 convicts who had gang-raped Bilkis Bano and murdered her family members during the 2002 Gujarat riots..A bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan today questioned whether an Article 32 petition (filed for the enforcement of fundamental rights) could be filed by convicts seeking remission. .Senior Advocate V Chitambaresh, appearing for a convict, argued that only Article 226 petitions (which have to be filed before High Courts) are maintainable to challenge the grant or rejection of remission."It is available only for convicts whose fundamental rights are affected," he added.Justice Bhuyan then asked, "Would a 32 petition (by a convict) lie? Is the right to seek remission a fundamental right?"Chitambaresh replied by saying it would not lie since seeking remission is not a fundamental right.He further asserted that such a petition could not be filed by the petitioners who have challenged the grant of remission as well, since their fundamental rights have not been breached..The hearing in the case will continue on October 4 at 2 PM, when the verdict is likely to be reserved after hearing rejoinder submissions by the petitioners..The Gujarat government had granted remission to the 11 convicts in this case following a May 2022 judgment of the apex court, which came on an Article 32 plea moved by one of the convicts, Radhyesham.This led to a batch of petitions before the Supreme Court challenging the grant of remission. The petitions, including public interest litigation pleas, also include a petition by Bano..Bilkis Bano case: Reintegration of convicts into society is a constitutional right, says Supreme Court.At today's hearing, a lawyer for a convict submitted that the grant of remission and his liberty once released from prison, were separate things. "Once I am released, my liberty cannot be affected. There cannot be any fundamental right against a fundamental right. They are now seeking to curtail my fundamental right to liberty, it cannot be done under 32, lordships. Even under CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code), victims and complainants have limited role. Once sentence has been passed, the role of the victim ceases," the counsel said.The hearing will continue on October 4 at 2 pm. .During the last hearing, the bench had orally observed that it has to examine whether the convicts in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case had received any preferential treatment when it came to their premature release from prison. During an earlier hearing last month, the Court had remarked that an accused in a criminal case has a constitutional right to be reintegrated into society.Before this, the Court had also asked the Gujarat and Central governments why remission policies were being applied selectively. On a related note, the Supreme Court in another case recently highlighted the importance of holistically considering applications for premature release. In that case, the Court also noted that a trial judge's opinion should not be considered mechanically while deciding on remission..Follow our coverage of Bilkis Bano case here.