The Supreme Court today dismissed the appeals of two doctors and four policemen including an IPS officer challenging their conviction by the Bombay High Court in the sensational 2002 Bilkis Bano case, saying there was “clear-cut evidence” against them.
A bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao, while rejecting their appeals, said the trial court had unreasonably acquitted them. IPS officer R S Bhagora, currently serving in Gujarat, was recently convicted along with four other policemen by the High Court, overturning the trial court order acquitting them.
The Bombay High Court had on May 4 reversed the trial court verdict acquitting Bhagora and others and upheld the conviction of 11 people (one convict is dead) in the Bilkis Bano gang rape and murder case. One policeman Idris Abdul Sayed has not appealed against his conviction.
The bench, however, 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 Bikis Bano, opposed the appeals of the convicts.
The High Court bench had convicted seven persons — 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 apex court had on May 30 refused to stay the conviction of Bhagora.
A vacation bench of Justices A K Sikri and Deepak Gupta said there was no urgency for hearing the matter as the convicted officer had already undergone the sentence. 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.