The Supreme Court on Tuesday (April 23) directed the Gujarat government to give ₹50 lakh compensation, a job and accommodation to Bilkis Bano who was gang raped during the 2002 riots in the state.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Rajan Gogoi was informed by the Gujarat government that action has been taken against the erring police officials in the case. The bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, was informed by the state’s counsel that pension benefits of the erring officials have been stopped and the IPS officer who was convicted by the Bombay High Court in the case has been demoted by two ranks.
Bano had earlier refused to accept the offer of ₹5 lakh and had sought exemplary compensation from the state government in a plea before the top court. The top court had on March 29 asked the state government to take disciplinary action within two weeks against all the erring police officials.
Advocate Shobha Gupta, appearing for Bano, told the apex court earlier that no action had been taken by the state government against the officials convicted by the high court. She had said that one IPS officer, currently serving in Gujarat is set to retire this year, while in case of four other officials who have retired no action has been taken against them like stopping pensions and retirement benefits. The counsel had further said that these police officers were convicted by the high court for botching up the investigation in the case.
With regard to compensation, she had contended that Bano has been leading almost a nomadic life after being subjected to gruesome crime and therefore exemplary compensation should be granted. Senior advocate Tushar Mehta, appearing for the state government had said that disciplinary proceedings are going on against the erring police officials.
On the compensation part, Mehta had said that state government has a policy of granting ₹5 lakh as compensation in such incidents. According to the prosecution, on March 3, 2002 Bilkis Bano’s family was attacked by a mob at Randhikpur village near Ahmedabad in the aftermath of the Godhra riots. Bilkis, five months pregnant at that time, was gang raped and some members of her family killed.