The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its verdict in the batch of petitions challenging the remission granted to convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang rape which happened during the Gujarat riots of 2002 [Bilkis Yakub Rasool v. Union of India and ors]..A bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan reserved the matter for judgment after hearing rejoinder submissions by various petitioners..The case concerns the early release of 11 convicts who had gang raped Bano and murdered her family members during the riots. .The Gujarat government had granted a remission of their sentence following a May 2022 judgment in which the top court held that an application of remission should be considered in line with the policy of the State where the crime was committed and not where the trial was held..The Gujarat government's decision was challenged by various petitioners, including Bano, before the top court..During the hearing of the matter on Thursday, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, appeared for one of the petitioners, Trinamool Congress (TMC) party leader Mahua Moitra and argued that both reformation and deterrence principles have to be kept in mind during remission. "Woman's dignity is a Constitutional norm. The sentence was cut short with a communal motive. Remission is bad in law and wrong impression was given that there were divergent views by High Courts as to the appropriate government. Article 32 cannot be used to set aside a judgment," she stressed.Advocate Vrinda Grover pointed out that convicts were also not paying fines imposed for a default in undergoing their sentences."It has to be seen if the State allowed this illegality and knew of the unpaid fines ... because the nominal rolls would have shown," she said. The judges, meanwhile, asked the lawyers to address the Court on how to balance the convicts' right to reform with the nature of their crimes. "This case is about two extremes, let us assume remission was bad in law - how to balance the nature of the crime with their right to reform? Are you saying such accused have no right to reformation? What follows if remission is quashed? What about their liberty? We are only putting it to you," Justice Nagarathna said. .Advocate Grover maintained that the convicts have to be sent back to prison if any illegality is found in the government's decision to allow the remission of their sentence. "This is a case of ex-facie illegality. If the State has favored and exercised power arbitrarily and illegally they have to go back," she contended. Grover also pointed out that the victim only got to know of the remission through the media. She stressed that the orders of remission ought to have been uploaded online.Advocate Aparna Bhat added that the State and Central governments had acted in a manner that was arbitrary, malafide and partisan."No application of mind, they cannot benefit from the wrong they committed. The release was illegal. Reformation is not a right, it is an opportunity. Criminal justice system is not vindictive does not mean you can get away with anything without demonstrating you have reformed."Advocate Nizam Pasha also made submissions in the matter before the bench proceeded to reserve its verdict..Follow coverage of the case here.