The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear the petitions filed by five of the 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case seeking an extension of the deadline to surrender, reported Bar and Bench.

On January 8, a bench comprising Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan quashed the Gujarat government order that granted remission to the convicts and asked them to surrender before jail authorities within two weeks.

Appearing for three of the convicts on Thursday, senior advocate V Chitambaresh appealed to a bench led by Nagarathna to list the matter for January 19 as the deadline set by the court for their surrender expires on January 21.

Another counsel told the bench that petitions by other convicts seeking more time will also be filed on Thursday.

Subsequently, Nagarathna directed the Supreme Court registry to seek orders from the chief justice of India for the reconstitution of the bench that had pronounced the order and the listing of all the pleas together for tomorrow, reported Live Law.

The 11 men were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for gangraping Bilkis Bano and murdering 14 members of her family during the 2002 communal riots in the state. One of the men had snatched Bano’s daughter from her arms and smashed her head on a rock.

They were released on August 15, 2022, after the Gujarat government granted them remission. However, on January 8, the Supreme Court held that its order in May 2022 directing the Gujarat government to decide the remission was secured by suppressing facts and fraud played on the court.

One of the convicts, Govindhbhai Nai, was the first to seek four weeks to surrender citing ill health as well as domestic responsibilities.

In his plea, Nai said that his father is bedridden and dependent on him. He also submitted that he underwent angiography recently and is yet to undergo another operation to treat his haemorrhoids.

Another convict, Ramesh Rupabhai Chandana, sought an extension of six weeks stating that he had to get his son married. Chandana said his crop was ready for harvest and that he was the only male member in the family, He said he also needs to make arrangements for his 86-year-old mother, who suffers from multiple age-related ailments.

Convict Mitesh Chimanlal Bhat sought six week’s extension submitting that his winter produce is ready for harvest. Bhat, 62, added that he was unmarried and had undergone cataract surgery, reported the Hindustan Times.

Convict Pradeep Ramanlal Modhiya has sought four more weeks to surrender and told the court in his plea that he had a recent lung surgery and needs time to recuperate. Another application by convict Bipinchand Kanaiyalal is seeking six weeks to surrender owing to leg surgery which had led to partial handicap.

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