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SC agrees to list pleas of convicts in Bilkis Bano Case seeking extension of time to surrender

Three days before the scheduled day to surrender is due, the convicts of the Bilkis Bano case sought an extension of time citing ‘health issues’, ‘harvesting season’ and ‘son’s marriage’. The Supreme Court on January 8th, had quashed the Gujarat government’s decision allowing the early release of 11 convicts in Bilkis Bano gang-rape case and ordered the convicts to surrender. 

The Supreme Court received a total of seven applications so far. One of the convicts, Govindhbhai Nai, in his plea seeking a four-week extension to surrender before the concerned jail authorities, reasoned his ill health and domestic responsibilities. 

The plea mentioned that Nai’s father is bedridden and is dependent on him. In addition to that, as per the plea, Nai had to undergo an angiography recently and is yet to undergo another operation for the treatment of Hemorrhoids.

Another convict, Pradeep Ramanlal Modhiya sought four more weeks to surrender as he had a recent lung surgery and needs time to recover. One more among the convicts, Bipinchand Kanaiyalal, moved the SC, seeking six weeks time to surrender owing to his leg surgery which had led to partial handicap.

Citing the need to make financial arrangements for their respective families, two of the convicts, Radheshyam Bhagwan Das and Rajubhai Babulal Soni, sought an additional six weeks to surrender in their application. Bhagwan Das was the same convict who was caught of having played fraud upon the Supreme Court by suppressing material facts leading to an eventual remission, which was revealed in the latest hearing. 

Convict Ramesh Rupabhai Chandana has sought an extension of time by another six weeks citing his son’s marriage as his ‘responsibility’. Whereas convict Mitesh Chimanlal Bhat has also sought a six-week extension in his plea, stating that his winter produce is ready for harvest and would prefer to complete the process before surrendering.

Bilkis Bano and other petitioners had approached the Supreme Court in September 2022, challenging the Gujarat government’s order granting remission to the 11 convicts in August 2022. 

In the hearing dated January 8, 2024, a bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan ruled that the Gujarat government was not entitled to pass the remission order for the convicts and had ordered the re-imprisonment of the convicts. 

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