New Delhi- In a significant development, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeals filed by the convicts involved in the Bilkis Bano gangrape and murder case on Friday january 19. The court has directed the convicts to surrender on or before January 21, denying their request for an extension of four to six weeks. The convicts had submitted applications, citing various reasons for seeking additional time.
The reasons presented by the gang-rape and murder convicts included concerns about ill health, family responsibilities, the care of aged and ailing parents, and the upcoming harvest season. However, a bench comprising Justices B.V. Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan found no merit in these reasons, emphasizing that the cited grounds did not provide sufficient cause to delay their compliance with the court's directives.
Convict Govindbhai Nai appealed for an extension, citing the ill health of his 88-year-old father and 75-year-old mother, for whom he is the sole caregiver. Similarly, Ramesh Rupabhai Chandna sought more time, stating the need to arrange for his son's wedding.
Convicts Mitesh Chimanlal Bhatt and Jasvantbhai Chaturbhai Nai pleaded that they needed time to harvest their winter crops, which were ready for harvesting. They expressed the desire to complete this agricultural task before surrendering. Deep Ramanlal Modhia, who recently underwent lung surgery, asserted the need for additional time to recover from the medical procedure.
Bipinchand Kanaiyalal Joshi, partially disabled due to recent leg surgery, sought more time. Radeshayam Bhagwandas Shah highlighted his responsibility towards elderly parents and a college-going son, requesting additional time for financial arrangements for the family.
Kesharbhai Khimabhai Vohaniya, referring to his old age, pleaded for time, stating that his son's wedding was fixed. Shaileshbhai Chimanlal Bhatt appealed for additional time for surrender, citing old age, family weddings, and the harvesting of winter crops.
In denying the extension, the Supreme Court asserted the need for adherence to legal timelines, reinforcing the urgency in high-profile cases of public interest.
In February 2002, Bilkis and family fled from Randhikpur afterriots broke out following the Godhra train burning incident. On March 3, 2002 Bilkis, five months pregnant, was raped and 14 of her family members were killed by a mob.
On January 21, 2008, a verdict was passed by the Special Judge at Greater Mumbai. 11 accused were convicted to life imprisonment for murder, rape; seven were acquitted; two were abated during trial due to their death.
In May 2017, the Bombay HC upheld the life sentence conviction of the 11 by trial court, refused to enhance punishment, additionally set aside acquittal of seven — 5 police officers and two doctors — convicting them under Sections 201 and 218 of IPC, sentencing them to the period of imprisonment undergone by them along with fine.
On April 23 2019, SC directed payment of Rs 50 lakh as compensation to Bano along with directing the state government to provide employment and government accommodation at a place of her choice in a 2017 petition filed by Bano seeking compensation. She cast her vote in April 2019 for the first time in 17 years at Dahod.
On August 15, 2022, 11 convicts were released from Godhra sub jail on remission by Gujarat government.
On September, 2022, Bilkis Bano approached the Supreme Court in a writ petition challenging the premature release of the 11 convicts.
January 8, 2024: Supreme Court quashed the Gujarat government decision to grant remission to 11 convicts and directed the convicts to surrender before or by January 21.