On January 19, the Supreme Court bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan sat again, this time to deal with applications filed by the eleven convicts of the Bilkis Bano gang rape and murder case seeking extension of time for surrendering to jail. Only 11 days ago, the country had rejoiced on January 8 when a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan had quashed the order of the Gujarat government that had granted remission to 11 of those convicted on several counts of murder and gang-rape of Bilkis Bano during the 2002 communal riots of Gujarat. Deeming the grant of remission to be a “violation of rule of law”, the Supreme Court bench had ordered the eleven convicts to surrender themselves to prison with a fortnight. The two-week period given for the convicts to surrender ends on this Sunday, on January 21.

Four days prior to the date of surrender, all eleven convicts of the convicts had moved the Supreme Court and filed applications seeking extension of four to six weeks to surrender before the jail authorities. The reasons cited in these applications vary from marriage of kin, harvesting winter produce, getting surgeries, taking care of old parents and ill health.

On January 19, after considering the applications one by one, the bench dismissed the said applications while holding that the reasons cited by the applicants lacked merit. In the order, the bench stated, “We have heard learned senior counsel and counsel for the applicants and the counsel for the non-applicants also. The reasons cited by applicants to seek postponement of surrender and report back to jail have no merit inasmuch as those reasons in no way prevent them from complying with our directions. Hence the MAs are dismissed. Pending applications if any also stands disposed.”

The filing of the applications:

On January 18, the said applications were filed in the Supreme Court. Pursuant to the filing of the application by the convicts, the Supreme Court bench of Justice Nagarathna agreed to take up the said petitions. As the applications were mentioned before her by Senior Advocate V Chitambaresh, she directed the Registry to get the orders of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud to reconstitute the bench which had heard the case as while the judgment in the Bilkis Bano case had been delivered by bench of Justices Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan, she sits with Justice Sanjay Karol on Thursday.

This story was originally published in sabrangindia.in. Read the full story here .