Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the plea seeking an extension of time to surrender, by 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang-rape case saying that the reasons cited by the convicts were not valid.
With just two days left for the due date of surrender, the 11 convicts in the case of the gangrape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of seven of her family members during the 2002 riots in Gujarat, had sought an extension of time citing ‘health issues’, ‘harvesting season’ and ‘son’s marriage’.
In response to this, the two-judge bench of Justices B V Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan said, “No reason seen in application to allow extension. All applications dismissed”.
“We have heard senior counsel and counsel for the applicants and the counsel for the non-applicants also. The reasons cited by applicants to seek postponement of surrender and report back to jail have no merit inasmuch as those reasons in no way prevent them from complying with our directions. Hence the miscellaneous applications are dismissed,” the court said.
On January 8, the apex court ordered the re-imprisonment of all convicts after quashing the Gujarat government’s order allowing the early release of the convicts. In its judgment, it said that the Gujarat government was not empowered to pass the remission order for the convicts.
Following this, all convicts moved the court seeking an additional four to six weeks citing various reasons. Protests were held in cities demanding that the SC decline the convicts’ pleas, calling out slogans supporting Bilkis Bano.
As per the recent development, all the convicts — Jaswant Nai, Govind Nai, Shailesh Bhatt, Radheshyam Bhagwandas Shah, Bipin Chandra Joshi, Kesarbhai Vohania, Pradeep Mordhiya, Bakabhai Vohania, Rajubhai Soni, Mitesh Bhatt and Ramesh Chandana — are to surrender by Monday, January 22, the deadline set by the top court.