The Supreme Court on Monday granted the Gujarat government six more weeks to reply to a petition demanding higher compensation for Bilkis Bano, who was gangraped during the 2002 riots. The court also granted the state government six weeks to file a status report on disciplinary action taken against police officers convicted in the case, The Wire reported.
A bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and judges AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud however clarified that no more time would be given to the state to file its response, PTI reported. The court had last sought the government’s reply to the plea on January 10.
A group of men had raped Bano on March 3, 2002, during the riots in Gujarat. She was 19 and pregnant at the time. Fourteen members of her family, including her three-year-old, were murdered by the rioters near Ahmedabad. Bano had identified her rapists, and the trial was transferred out of Gujarat for fear that witnesses may be influenced. Twelve people were convicted in the case and given life terms by a trial court in Mumbai in January 2008.
Bano’s plea asked the top court to consider directing the Gujarat government to provide the victim increased compensation. “The horrendous facts of the present case and extremes of the egregious violation of fundamental rights and human rights of the petitioner would though beseech rather demand the court to raise the bar much higher,” it said.
The Bombay High Court had also convicted five police personnel for not performing their duties and for tampering of evidence during the investigation into Bano’s gangrape. In October, the top court asked the Gujarat government why the policemen convicted in the case had been reinstated.