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Supreme Court Rejects Plea for Extension in Surrender Time for Bilkis Bano Gangrape Convicts

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The Supreme Court dismissed a plea filed by 11 convicts involved in the gangrape case of Bilkis Bano and the murder of seven of her family members during the 2002 riots in Gujarat. The convicts had sought an extension of time to surrender, but the court ordered them to comply with the surrender directive by January 21.

A bench comprising Justices B V Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan stated that the reasons presented by the convicts lacked merit and provided no valid grounds for postponement. The court’s decision follows its earlier ruling on January 8, where it nullified the Gujarat government’s decision to grant remission to the 11 convicts. The court criticized the government’s actions, stating that the remission orders were “stereotyped” and passed without due consideration.

In the 251-page judgment, the Supreme Court emphasized that the Gujarat government lacked jurisdiction to entertain applications for remission. It clarified that only the government of the state where the offenders were sentenced had the competence to consider such applications and issue remission orders.

The case revolves around Bilkis Bano, who was 21 years old and five months pregnant when she was subjected to a brutal gangrape. The incident occurred as she and her family attempted to escape the communal riots triggered by the Godhra train burning incident in February 2002. Tragically, Bilkis Bano’s three-year-old daughter was among the seven family members who lost their lives.

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