The Supreme Court Friday asked the Gujarat government to complete disciplinary action against erring police officials convicted by the Bombay High Court in the sensational Bilkis Bano gang rape case during the 2002 riots.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it will hear on April 23 Bano's plea seeking enhanced compensation.
Bano refused to accept Rs 5 lakh compensation offered by the Gujarat government before the bench also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, The high court had on May 4, 2017 convicted seven people -- five policemen and two doctors -- under sections 218 (not performing their duties) and section 201 (tampering of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The top court had on July 10, 2017, dismissed the appeals of two doctors and four policemen including an IPS officer challenging their conviction by the high court saying there was "clear-cut evidence" against them.
The court while rejecting their appeals, had said the trial court had unreasonably acquitted them. "You all have been unreasonably acquitted by the trial court in the case despite there being clear-cut evidence against you," the court had said while dismissing the appeals.
IPS officer R S Bhagora, currently serving in Gujarat, was convicted along with four other policemen by the High Court, overturning the trial court order acquitting them. One policeman Idris Abdul Sayed has not appealed against his conviction.
Counsel for Bhagora had said he was unnecessarily caught in the web of circumstances and had no direct role in the incident. The bench, however, had refused to go into the matter saying Bhagora was the supervising officer in the case and everything happened under his nose. Advocate Shobha, appearing for Bano, had opposed the appeals of the convicts.
A special court had on 21 January, 2008 convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment 11 men for raping Bano and murdering seven of her family members in the aftermath of the Godhra riots, while acquitting seven persons including the policemen and doctors.
The convicts had later approached the Bombay High Court challenging their conviction and sought quashing and setting aside of the trial court.
The CBI had also filed an appeal in the high court seeking harsher punishment of death for three of the convicted persons on the ground that they were the main perpetrators of the crime.
According to the prosecution, on March 3, 2002 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. Bilkis, who was five months pregnant at the 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 Bilkis expressed apprehensions that the witnesses could be harmed and the CBI evidence tampered with, the Supreme Court transferred the case to Mumbai in August 2004.
The convicts had challenged the order on three main grounds — that all evidence in the case was fabricated by CBI, that Bilkis gave birth to a child after the incident, proving that she could not have been gang raped, and the failure to find the bodies of some of her family members which proved that they were not killed.