The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the petitions filed by all 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case seeking an extension of the deadline to surrender, reported Live Law.

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

The convicts on Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking more time to surrender citing various reasons, including aged parents, ill health and crop harvest. Appearing for three of the convicts, senior advocate V Chitambaresh, had appealed to a bench led by Nagarathna to list the matter for Friday as the deadline set by the court for their surrender expires on Sunday.

On Friday, the court said that the reasons cited by the convicts to allow an extension “lacked merit”.

“...those reasons in no way prevent them from complying with our directions,” said the Supreme Court.

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. At the time, 19-year-old Bano was pregnant.

The convicts were released on August 15, 2022, after the Gujarat government granted them remission.

However, on January 8, the Supreme Court said that its order in May 2022 directing the state 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 of 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 an extension of six week, submitting that his winter produce is ready for harvest. Bhat, 62, added that he was unmarried and had undergone cataract surgery