Bilkis Bano Case: SC Agrees To Plea of 3 Convicts Seeking More Time to Surrender

Curated By: Sanstuti Nath

Last Updated: January 18, 2024, 11:32 IST

SC quashed the remission granted to the 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case. (PTI Photo)

SC quashed the remission granted to the 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case. (PTI Photo)

The top court on January 8 ordered all 11 convicts in the case to surrender before the jail authorities within two weeks

Three convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case have moved the Supreme Court seeking an extension of time to surrender before the concerned jail authorities. The pleas were mentioned before the Top Court on Thursday, following which it agreed to hear them on Friday (January 19).

The matter seeking an extension of time was mentioned before a bench of Justices B V Nagarathana and Sanjay Karol, which asked the Registry to seek orders from Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud to constitute a bench with Justice Ujjal Bhuiyan to hear the petitions on Friday.

“It is stated by three respondents that applications have been filed for an extension of time to surrender and report to jail. Since the bench has to be reconstituted, registry to seek orders from CJI for reconstitution of the bench since time expires on Sunday,” the bench said.

The top court on January 8 had quashed the Gujarat government’s decision to grant remission to 11 convicts in the case, saying the orders were “stereotyped” and passed without application of mind.

It had asked the convicts to surrender before jail authorities in two weeks.

The Gujarat government on August 15, 2022, released 11 men convicted of Bilkis’ gang rape and the killing of her family, causing an outrage. The government cited good behaviour as the reason behind the release of 11 convicts.

3 Convicts Seek Time Extension

Now, three convicts– Govindhbhai Nai, Ramesh Rupabhai Chandana and Mitesh Chimanlal Bhat– have sought an extension of time to surrender, according to a report by Bar and Bench.

While Nai sought a time of four weeks to surrender, Chandana and Bhat asked for six weeks to return.

In his plea, Nai cited ill health as well as domestic responsibilities as reasons for seeking a time extension, the Bar and Bench report said.

As per his plea, Nai’s father is bedridden and dependent on him.  He also submitted that he, himself, had undergone an angiography recently and is yet to undergo another operation for the treatment of ‘haemorrhoids’.

Chandana in his plea reportedly claimed he has to get his son married and fulfil his responsibility, while Bhat said his winter produce is ready for harvest and he would prefer to complete the process before surrendering.

Bilkis Bano Case

In February 2002, there were riots in Gujarat after the Sabarmati train carrying ‘karsevaks’ was burnt in Godhra, in which fifty-nine ‘karsevaks’ were killed in the train.

Fearing violence, then five-months pregnant Bilkis Bano fled from her village Randhikpur with her three-year-old daughter and 15 other family members. They sought refuge in the Chhaparvad district.

However, on 3 March 2002, a group of around 20-30 people armed with swords and sticks attacked Bilkis and her family. Among the attackers were the 11 men accused of raping her. Bilkis, along with her mother and three other women were raped and assaulted while her three-year-old daughter was killed by the mob.

Of the 17-member group of Muslims from Radhikpur village, eight were found dead, six were missing. Only Bilkis, a man, and a three-year-old survived the attack.

After Bilkis regained consciousness, she borrowed clothes from an Adivasi woman and registered a complaint at the Limkheda police station.

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