Three of the eleven men convicted of gang-raping Bilkis Bano and murdering her seven relatives during the 2002 Gujarat riots have asked for more time to surrender after a Supreme Court decision to quash their release.
The three cited family responsibilities, aged parents, winter crop harvest, and failing health while seeking an extension of the deadline for surrendering by January 21.
On January 6, the court said the Gujarat government was complicit with the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case and wrongly exercised its power to order their release in August 2022.
The court nullified a 2022 judgment directing Gujarat to consider the remission applications of the convicts, saying it was obtained by ‘playing fraud.’
The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to list on Friday the applications of the three, days after it quashed the early release of the convicts.
One sought six more weeks to surrender in an application filed late Wednesday. He said he was unmarried while urging the court to consider his advanced age and that he had undergone cataract surgery, while also mentioning the harvest.
‘…the applicant needs 5 to 6 weeks for harvesting and other processes to be completed,’ the application said.
A second convict told the court he was on medication after undergoing angiography. He added surrendering immediately would ‘adversely impact his mental and physical health while seeking six weeks to surrender.’
Mentioning his crop was ready for harvest and he is the only male member in the family, he added his 86-year-old mother suffers from multiple age-related ailments. Chandana sought time ‘to make viable arrangements’ before surrendering.
The third convict sought four weeks claiming he is the only caretaker of his ailing 88-year-old father and 75-year-old mother. He added he has two dependent children.
‘The respondent himself is an old man who is suffering from asthma and in really poor health…was recently operated upon and had to undergo an angiography.’
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