Bilkis Bano Case Updates

The Supreme Court rejected the Gujarat government’s decision to release 11 convicts in the 2002 Bilkis Bano case as a part of the latest current affairs. A bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan stated that the Gujarat government didn’t have the authority to grant the release. All 11 convicts, released by the Gujarat government, were set free on August 15, 2022.

What is the Bilkis Bano Case?

The Bilkis Bano case is a significant incident of gangrape and mass murder during the 2002 Gujarat riots in India.

Bilkis Bano, a 21-year-old pregnant woman at the time, was sexually assaulted, and her family members were killed in the riots following the Godhra train burning incident. Initially overlooked, the case gained attention through Bano’s persistent efforts and her supporters, leading to its reopening and the culprits being brought to justice.

Bilkis Bano Case Timeline – Key Events Simplified

Crime Occurrence:

  • February 28, 2002: Bilkis and family escape riots after the Godhra train burning.
  • March 3, 2002: Bilkis, pregnant, is raped, and 14 family members are killed by a mob.
  • March 4, 2002: Bilkis reports the incident, but crucial details are omitted.
  • March 5, 2002: Bilkis’s statement is recorded, and seven family bodies are found.

Police Actions:

  • November 6, 2002: Police submit a report seeking case closure, but the court rejects it.
  • April 2003: Bilkis appeals to the Supreme Court, requesting a CBI investigation.
  • December 6, 2003: Supreme Court transfers the case to the CBI.
  • February 1-2, 2004: Bodies are exhumed for CBI investigation.
  • April 19, 2004: CBI files chargesheet against 20 accused.

Case Shifts:

  • August 2004: Supreme Court moves the trial from Gujarat to Mumbai.
  • January 21, 2008: Special Judge in Mumbai convicts 11 to life imprisonment; seven acquitted.
  • 2016: Bombay HC begins hearing appeals.
  • May 2017: Bombay HC upholds convictions and sets aside acquittals for seven.

Supreme Court Appeals:

  • July 2017: SC dismisses appeals by two doctors and four policemen.
  • April 23, 2019: SC directs compensation of Rs 50 lakh to Bilkis.

Controversial Release and Reversal:

  • August 15, 2022: Gujarat government releases 11 convicts on remission.
  • September 2022: Bilkis challenges the release in the Supreme Court.
  • January 8, 2024: Supreme Court overturns Gujarat government’s remission decision.

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