The law is supposed to be a noble profession, the Supreme Court said on Thursday after it was informed that one of the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case practises law after his sentence was remitted last year, PTI reported

Bilkis Bano was gangraped on March 3, 2002, during the riots in Gujarat. She was 19 and pregnant at the time. Fourteen members of her family, including her three-year-old daughter, were murdered by the rioters near Ahmedabad. One of the men snatched the girl from her mother’s arms and smashed her head on a rock.

Eleven men were convicted in the case and sentenced to life imprisonment. They were, however, released on August 15 last year after the Gujarat government approved their application under its remission policy. Bano has challenged their release before the Supreme Court.

On Thursday, advocate Rishi Malhotra, while defending the remission granted to convict Radheshyam Shah, told a bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan that his client is now practising as a motor vehicle accident claims lawyer in Gujarat.

“Today, almost a year has lapsed and there has not been a single case against me [Shah],” Malhotra said, according to PTI. “I was a lawyer and I have again started practising [after the remission].”

The court, however, questioned whether a convict can be granted a license to practice law.

“You [Shah] are a convict, there is no doubt about that,” the court said. “You are out of jail due to the remission granted to you. The conviction remains only the sentence is cut short.”

The judges added that the Bar Council of India should look into whether a convict can practise law.

Malhotra contended that any restriction on his client would make the scheme of reformation and rehabilitation “go for a toss”, reported Live Law.

“If he is not given any chance to be reintegrated into society, he would be a secluded person,” he argued. “It would just be like a jail for him.”