Bilkis Bano case: SC directs Gujarat govt to give her Rs 50 lakh compensation, job, accommodation

Bano had earlier refused to accept the offer of Rs 5 lakh and had sought exemplary compensation from the state government in a plea before the top court.
Bilkis Bano case: SC directs Gujarat govt to give her Rs 50 lakh compensation, job, accommodation

A bench headed by Chief Justice Rajan Gogoi was informed by the Gujarat government that action has been taken against the erring police officials in the case.

The bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and SanjivKhanna, was informed by the state's counsel that pension benefits of the erringofficials have been stopped and the IPS officer who was convicted by the BombayHigh Court in the case has been demoted by two ranks.

Bano had earlier refused to accept the offer of Rs 5 lakhand had sought exemplary compensation from the state government in a pleabefore the top court.

The top court had on March 29 asked the state government totake disciplinary action within two weeks against all the erring policeofficials.

Advocate Shobha Gupta, appearing for Bano, told the apexcourt earlier that no action had been taken by the state government against theofficials convicted by the high court.

She had said that one IPS officer, currently serving inGujarat is set to retire this year, while in case of four other officials whohave retired no action has been taken against them like stopping pensions andretirement benefits.

The counsel had further said that these police officers wereconvicted by the high court for botching up the investigation in the case.

With regard to compensation, she had contended that Bano hasbeen leading almost a nomadic life after being subjected to gruesome crime andtherefore exemplary compensation should be granted.

Senior advocate Tushar Mehta, appearing for the stategovernment had said that disciplinary proceedings are going on against theerring police officials.

On the compensation part, Mehta had said that stategovernment has a policy of granting Rs 5 lakh as compensation in suchincidents.

According to the prosecution, on March 3, 2002 Bilkis Bano'sfamily was attacked by a mob at Randhikpur village near Ahmedabad in theaftermath of the Godhra riots.

Bilkis, five months pregnant at that time, was gang rapedand some members of her family killed. The trial in the case initially began inAhmedabad.

However, after Bano expressed apprehensions that thewitnesses could be harmed and the CBI evidence tampered with, the apex courttransferred the case to Mumbai in August 2004.

A special court had on 21 January, 2008 convicted andsentenced to life imprisonment 11 men for raping Bano and murdering seven ofher family members, while acquitting seven persons including the policemen anddoctors.

The high court, on May 4, 2017, convicted seven people —five policemen and two doctors — under sections 218 (not performing theirduties) and section 201 (tampering of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The top court had on July 10, 2017 dismissed the appeals oftwo doctors and four policemen, including an IPS officer R S Bhagora,challenging their conviction by the high court saying there was "clear-cutevidence" against them. One of the officers did not appeal.

The convicts had later approached the Bombay High Court andsought quashing and setting aside of the trial court's conviction.

The CBI had also filed an appeal in the high court seekingharsher punishment of death for three of the convicted persons on the groundthat they were the main perpetrators of the crime.

The convicts had challenged the order on three main groundsthat all evidence in the case was fabricated by CBI, that Bilkis gave birth toa child after the incident, proving that she could not have been gang raped,and the failure to find the bodies of some of her family members which provedthat they were not killed.

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