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The Supreme Court granted an extended period of six more weeks to the Gujrat government to file its reply on a plea demanding exemplary compensation for Bilkis Bano, the victim of gangrape during the riot of 2002 in Gujrat. The bench consisted of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud strictly instructed on Monday that the state shall not be granted with any further time for filing response regarding the matter.
On January 10th of this year, the court had sought the Gujrat government’s reply on the plea of the victim for exemplary compensation and asked about any disciplinary action, if it has been initiated towards the policemen convicted in the case.
Two petitions to this matter are in pending before the Supreme Court - one, which pertains to the award of exemplary compensation to the victim and two, regarding the disciplinary action to be taken against the convicted policemen. The plea states that it is an extreme violation of human rights of the victim and the Court should reconsider its law on assessment of the quantum of compensation to be awarded to the victim, Bilkis Bano.
The horrifying fact of the case that Bilkis Bano was gang-raped in March 2002 when she was pregnant and lost seven family members in the riot, is an extreme violation of fundamental as well as human rights of Bilkis Bano, the plea said that it requests for a speedy remedy and demand the Court to raise the bar.
Bilkis Bano, in her application for exemplary compensation, alleged that the State instead of protecting her, gave a good effort to protect the perpetrators which violated her constitutional rights from the state to get protected. She also urged for evolving path-breaking guidelines by revising the existing law on assessing the quantum of compensation and set a new parameter for that purpose. To which the Court made it clear on November 24 last year that the matter of enhancement shall be looked into later on.
On March 3rd, 2002, during the Gujrat riot, Bilkis Bano’s family was attacked by a mob at Radhikapur village near Ahmedabad in which seven family members of her were killed. The trial though started in Ahmedabad, the top Court transferred the case to Mumbai in August 2004 as Bilkis Bano apprehended that witnessed could be harmed and CBI evidences can be tampered with. A special court on January 21, 2008, convicted 11 men in the case, who moved to the Bombay High Court challenging the conviction. The CBI had filed an appeal to the High Court seeking death punishment to three of the convicts who were the main perpetrators of the heinous crime.
On May 4th last year, the High Court convicted 12 men passing the order of life imprisonment, did set aside the acquittal of seven people including policemen and doctors and convicted for not performing their duties under Sec. 218 and tampering with evidences under Sec. 201 of the Indian Penal Code.
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