The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to grant stay on the conviction of an IPS officer in the 2002 Bilkis Bano case. A vacation bench of Justices A K Sikri and Deepak Gupta said that there was no urgency for hearing the matter as the convicted officer has already undergone the sentence. The apex court, however, listed the matter for hearing in the second week of July and observed that the fine is Rs 15,000 only.
Earlier this month, IPS officer R S Bhagora, who is currently serving in Gujarat, was convicted along with four other policemen by the Bombay High Court, which reversed the trial court verdict that had acquitted them in the Bilkis Bano case. In addition to five policemen, two doctors were also convicted by the High Court.
On May 5, the Bombay High Court had upheld the life imprisonment of 11 men convicted for the gangrape of Bilkis Bano and murder of her family members during the 2002 Gujarat riots. A total of 18 people now stand convicted in the case, which includes Gujarat police officers and doctors of a government hospital, who were charged with suppressing and tampering with evidence.
On March 3, 2002, Bano, who was then 19 years old and five months pregnant, was escaping mobs of rioters along with her family on a truck, days after the burning of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra station. The truck was attacked by an armed mob in Randhikpur village of Dahod district during which 14 members of her family were killed, including her daughter, mother Halima and cousin Shamim. Bilkis was gangraped and left for dead.
With PTI inputs