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Bilkis Bano case: SC asks Gujarat to apprise it on departmental action taken against convicted cops

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Gujarat government to apprise it within four weeks whether any departmental action was initiated or taken against the police officers whose conviction in the case of gang rape of Bilkis Bano on March 3, 2002 during the Gujarat riots was upheld.

A Bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, also allowed the gang rape survivor to file a fresh appeal seeking an enhancement of the compensation granted to her.

On May 4, the Bombay High Court upheld the conviction and life imprisonment of 12 persons in the case, while setting aside the acquittal of five policemen and two doctors. It convicted Narpat Singh, Idris Abdul Saiyed, Bikabhai Patel, Ramsingh Bhabhor, Sombhai Gori, Arun Kumar Prasad (doctor) and Sangeeta Kumar Prasad (doctor) for not performing their duties (Section 218) and tampering of evidence (Section 201) under the Indian Penal Code.

On January 21, 2008, a special court convicted and sentenced 11 men in the case to life imprisonment and they approached the Bombay High Court challenging their conviction.

The CBI had also filed an appeal in the High Court, seeking the harsher punishment of death for three of the convicted on the grounds that they were the main perpetrators of the crime.

According to the prosecution, Ms. Bilkis Bano’s family was attacked by a mob at Randhikpur village near Ahmedabad during the post Godhra riots and seven members of her family were killed.

Ms. Bilkis Bano, who was five-month pregnant at that time, was gang-raped while six other members of her family managed to escape from the mob.

The trial in the case began in Ahmedabad. However, after Ms. Bilkis Bano expressed apprehensions that witnesses could be harmed and the CBI evidence could be tampered with, the Supreme Court transferred the case to Mumbai in August 2004.

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