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Sunday, May 19, 2024

SC dismisses Bilkis Bano case convicts’ plea to extend time to surrender before jail authorities

10 of the 11 convicts had earlier sought an extension of the deadline to surrender, citing several family responsibilities.

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to extend the deadline of surrender by 11 convicts of the Bilkis Bano gangrape case. Earlier, a batch of petitions was filed by 10 of the convicts, seeking more time to surrender, citing reasons such as family responsibilities, care for aged parents, harvesting of winter crops and health conditions. While rejecting the plea, the apex court said reasons cited in the application do not prevent them from complying with the January 8 order to surrender within two weeks. of winter crops and health conditions.

In their petition, nine convicts sought an extension of six more weeks, whereas one asked for an additional time of four weeks. “As the winter crops produced by the applicant are ready for harvesting and other processes, the applicant needs five to six weeks for such harvesting and other processes. to be completed,” one of the convicts, Mithilesh Bhatt, said in his application.

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On January 8, the top court scrapped the Gujarat government’s remission, allowing the premature release of all 11 people convicted for raping Bilkis Bano and murdering her family members during the 2002 communal riots. The court observed that the Gujarat government didn’t have jurisdiction over the remission of a sentence awarded in Maharashtra. It said the Gujarat government had usurped the power of the Maharashtra government by not filing the review petition against the May 2022 judgment.

“We need not have gone into the other issues. But for the sake of completion, we have. The rule of law is breached because the Gujarat government usurped power not vested in it and abused its power. On that ground, the remission orders also deserve to be quashed. We strike down the remission orders on the ground of usurpation of power by the Gujarat government,” the bench said.

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