The Supreme Court on Monday gave a final chance to the Gujarat government to file a status report on the disciplinary action taken against police officers convicted in the 2002 Bilkis Bano gangrape case. The Supreme Court bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, gave the state a further six weeks time to file their reply.
A pregnant Bilkis Bano was gangraped on March 3, 2002, in Randhikpur village, while fleeing the violence in the aftermath of the Godhra train burning in Gujarat. Fourteen members of her family were killed.
During its last hearing in January, the apex court had asked the Gujarat government to file a report on the action taken against police officers convicted in the case and also sought its response on a plea demanding exemplary compensation for Bilkis Bano. Considering the extreme violation of fundamental rights of the victim in the case, the court should revisit its law on assessment of the quantum of compensation to be given to Bano, the plea said.
The Bombay High Court had on May 4 upheld the conviction and life imprisonment of 12 people in the gangrape case, while setting aside the acquittal of seven people, including policemen and doctors. The trial court, while sentencing 11 people to life imprisonment on January 21, 2008, had acquitted five police officers and two government doctors, giving them the benefit of doubt.
The convicts appealed to the high court against the trial court order that referred to the laxity and failures of the police in registering and investigating the case. It upheld the convictions and also set aside the acquittal of the five police officers.