2002 riots: SC asks Gujarat to give victim relief within 2 weeks
New Delhi, Sep. 30 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Gujarat government to give within two weeks INR 50 lakh compensation, a job and an accommodation of choice to Bilkis Bano, who was gang raped when she was five months pregnant during the 2002 riots in the state.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the Gujarat government as to why it has not complied with the apex court’s earlier order of April 23 and given the compensation to Bano.
“Why has the compensation not been paid?” the bench, also comprising justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer, asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the state.
At the outset, advocate Shobha Gupta, appearing for Bano, told the bench that despite the top court’s order the Gujarat government has not provided anything to her.
Mehta told the bench that compensation of INR 50 lakh was not provided in the victim compensation scheme of Gujarat, and the state would also like to file a plea seeking review of the top court’s April order.
“No. Why you have not paid the compensation?” the bench said, adding that “should we note in the order that the compensation has been ordered keeping in view the peculiar facts of the case”.
Mehta agreed to this but said some more time was needed to provide her a job.
“Even two weeks time is not needed,” the bench said.
Later, Mehta gave an undertaking to the court that the compensation, job and accommodation would be given to Bano within two weeks.
The top court also clarified that its April order giving INR 50 lakh compensation, a job and an accommodation to Bano was passed keeping in view the peculiar facts of the case.
The bench disposed of the contempt plea of Bano alleging non-compliance of its order by the state and gave liberty to her to approach it incase of any difficulty.
The top court had in April directed the state government to pay the compensation to Bano within two weeks.
It had also asked the state government to withdraw the pension benefits given to erring police officials involved in the case.
Bano had earlier refused to accept the offer of INR five lakh and sought an exemplary compensation from the state government in a plea before the top court.
According to the prosecution, on March 3, 2002, Bano’s family was attacked by a mob at Randhikpur village near Ahmedabad in the aftermath of the Godhra riots.
Bano, five months pregnant at that time, was gang raped and some members of her family killed.