Bilkis Bano case: Convicts seek extension to surrender

New Delhi : Days after the Supreme Court struck down the premature release of 11 gang-rape and murder convicts in Bilkis Bano case, three of them have moved applications before the apex court seeking extension of time to surrender before the concerned jail authorities.

On Thursday, a bench presided over by Justice B.V. Nagarathna agreed to urgently list these applications on January 19 for hearing.

Justice Nagarathna ordered the registry to obtain directions from Chief Justice of India to constitute a special bench comprising herself and Justice Ujjal Bhuyan — which had earlier set aside the “stereotyped and cyclostyled” remission orders passed by the Gujarat government and gave a two-week deadline to convicts to surrender before jail authorities by January 21.

In his application, one of the convicts pleaded that his 88-year-old bedridden father is completely dependent upon him and his 75-year-old mother is also in poor health. Further, he is yet to undergo another operation for the treatment ‘Hemorrhoids’.

“That in light of the predicaments being faced by the Respondent (convict) and his family and in the interest of justice, an extension of four weeks be granted to the Respondent to surrender before the concerned Jail Authorities, ” the application said.

Another convict Mitesh Chimanlal Bhatt said that he is about 62 years old senior citizen and has undergone eye surgery for cataract.

“As the winter crops produced by the applicant are ready for harvesting and other processes, the applicant needs 5 to 6 weeks for such harvesting and other processes, ” Bhatt pleaded in his application.

Likewise, another application seeks to extend the time period for surrender by four weeks saying that the young son of the applicant is of marriageable age and he bears the responsibility to look after this affair.

In its January 8 order, rejecting plea for protection of liberty of convicts, the Supreme Court had said that if remissions orders are set aside, “then the natural consequences must follow”.

“If ultimately rule of law is to prevail and the impugned orders of remission are set aside by us, then the natural consequences must follow, ” it said, ordering convicts to report back to the jail authorities concerned within two weeks.