New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Gujarat government to give within two weeks Rs 50 lakh compensation, a job and an accommodation of choice to Bilkis Bano, who was gang-raped when she was five months pregnant during the 2002 riots in the state.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the Gujarat government as to why it has not given the compensation, job and accommodation to Bilkis despite the apex court's April 23, 2019 order. The court had observed while issuing the order that she was witness to the devastation of her family.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the state, had told the bench that compensation of Rs 50 lakh was not provided in the victim compensation scheme of Gujarat and they would also file a plea seeking review of the top court's April order.
Replying to this, the bench, also comprising justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer observed, "Should we note in the order that the compensation has been ordered keeping in view the peculiar facts of the case," while asking the state government to comply with the court order within two weeks.
Later, Mehta gave an undertaking in the court that the compensation, job and accommodation would be given to her within two weeks.
Also read: My Victory Is Also on Behalf of All Other Women: Bilkis Bano
As per a report in Live Law, the court had also noted during the April 23 order that Bilkis Bano’s daughter’s head was smashed against the wall in front of her eyes. The mob had also gangraped her 22 times while she was pregnant, and killed seven member of her family at Randhikpur village near March 3, 2002.
Bano had earlier declined the state government’s compensation of Rs 5 lakh, and sought exemplary compensation from the Supreme Court. She had sought disciplinary actions against the police officials who were convicted by the Bombay High Court in the case. The top court had on March 29, 2019 asked the state government to take disciplinary action within two weeks against all the erring police officials, including an IPS officer. On this, the bench was informed by the state’s counsel that pension benefits of the erring officials have been stopped and the IPS officer who was convicted by the Bombay HC was demoted by two ranks, the Live Law report noted.
On January 21, 2008, a special court had convicted and sentenced to life 11 men for raping her and murdering seven members of her family, following the Godhra riots. However, seven persons including the policemen and doctors were acquitted by the court.
Later in May 2017, eight people were convicted of the massacre by the Bombay High court, where the Bilkis Bano case had been shifted to in the year 2004, by the order of the Supreme Court. This was a result of a plea filed by Bano to transfer her case outside Gujarat, as she kept receiving threats, which forced her to change her residence as many as 20 times in the two years that followed the incident.
(With inputs from PTI)