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No review of order, Bilkis to get relief: SC

No review of order, Bilkis to get relief: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday declined to review its April order directing the government to pay a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to Bilkis Bano, a Gujarat riots victim, along with a job and accommodation.

In April, the apex court had directed the Gujarat government to rehabilitate and pay Rs 50 lakh as compensation to Bilkis Yakub Rasool Bano, who was gang raped at the age of 21 in 2002, post the Godhra riots.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Gogoi refused to review its previous order on the matter, and directed the Gujarat government to compensate her and also provide her with a job and accommodation in the next two weeks.

The Bench also consisting Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, expressed concern about the victim after learning that she had been living a nomadic life and on charity.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the state government, contended before the bench that the government seeks a review of the April order by the top court.

Bilkis Bano had filed a contempt plea in the top court. Mehta said the April order by the top court has not been complied yet, as the government seeks reconsideration of its directive.

"It will set a precedent," contended Mehta. The court did not agree on this contention. Later, Mehta sought four weeks to comply with the court's order, but the Chief Justice refused.

The Chief Justice clarified that the order to pay compensation along with a job and accommodation was in view of specific facts and circumstances in connection with this case.

The court had directed the Gujarat government to get her a state government job and provide her accommodation at a place of her choice.

The court observed that her infant daughter was "smashed" against the wall in their house before her. Bano was pregnant when she was gang-raped by a mob, which also killed seven members of her family at Randhikpur village near Ahmedabad on March 3, 2002.

Chief Justice Gogoi had pointed out that the rehabilitation of the victim is at priority, after her lawyer contended before the court she has lost everything in the tragedy.

"In today's world, money is the best healer... We are not sure, if it can heal her, but what else can we do for her... As per her condition, ask for whatever compensation you want and we will pass orders accordingly," Chief Justice Gogoi had told the Bano's lawyer.

Gujarat government counsel also informed the top court that three guilty officials, who tried to tamper with evidence in the Bilkis Bano gang-rape case, have been stripped off entire pension benefits, and an IPS officer has been demoted by two ranks.

The Bombay High Court had upheld the life imprisonment of 11 persons accused in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case.

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