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Supreme Court Rejects Pleas for Delayed Surrender in Bilkis Bano Case

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by News Desk

Introduction:

On January 8, the Supreme Court nullified the remission granted by the Gujarat government to 11 convicts in the high-profile Bilkis Bano case. The court criticized the state’s complicity with an accused and ordered the convicts, prematurely released on Independence Day in 2022, to return to jail within two weeks. Subsequently, pleas for extension based on health concerns, impending surgeries, family events, and agricultural responsibilities were dismissed.

Issues:


The convicts, including Govind Nai, Pradeep Mordhiya, Bipin Chandra Joshi, Ramesh Chandana, and Mitesh Bhatt, sought relief citing reasons such as failing health, impending surgeries, and familial responsibilities. The court rejected these pleas, emphasizing that the reasons provided did not prevent compliance with its directives. The convicts’ claims included health issues, a son’s marriage, and the need to harvest ripe crops.

Reasoning:


Govind Nai, in his plea, highlighted his poor health, recent surgery, and the impending need for another operation. Ramesh Chandana, responsible for the family’s crops, argued for more time due to the crops being ready for harvest. Pradeep Mordhiya, who had undergone lung surgery, requested additional time for regular medical consultations. Mitesh Bhatt emphasized the need to harvest winter crops before surrendering, while Bipin Chandra Joshi cited a recent leg surgery.

Conclusion:


The Supreme Court dismissed the miscellaneous applications, asserting that the reasons provided for seeking an extension had no merit. The court criticized the Gujarat government for remitting the sentences, stating it had usurped the power of the Maharashtra government in granting remission. The case, originally in a Gujarat court, was transferred to Mumbai, and the Supreme Court emphasized that the power to grant remission lay with the Maharashtra government. The Bilkis Bano case, arising from the 2002 communal riots, involved the gang-rape of a 21-year-old pregnant woman and the killing of seven family members during her attempt to escape the violence following the Godhra train burning incident.

Written by — Athi Venkatesh AVD

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