The Supreme Court Tuesday expressed exasperation as lawyers representing some of the convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang rape and murder case disputed the contents of an affidavit filed by her regarding service of court summons to them.
The hearing was presided over by a bench of justices K.M. Joseph and B.V. Nagarathana, who were considering Bano’s petition challenging the Gujarat government’s decision to release 11 convicts who had been sentenced to life imprisonment in the case.
During the hearing, the lawyers for two convicts sought an adjournment, alleging that Bano had filed a false affidavit in court claiming that they had refused to accept the notice. They argued that the official report showed that the individuals in question were out of town when the postal department attempted to serve the notices.
Justice Joseph expressed disappointment at the lawyers’ attempts to delay the proceedings, stating that it was clear they did not want the current bench to hear the matter. He reminded them of their duty as officers of the court and urged them to act accordingly.
The convicts’ lawyers went on to accuse Bano of “defrauding the court” and called for criminal action to be taken against her under the Code of Criminal Procedure. Bano’s lawyer rejected these allegations and requested that the court proceed with the hearing.
The court granted the convicts until May 9th to file their responses and allowed for the serving of notices to those who had not yet received them. The court indicated that on May 9th, it would deal with housekeeping issues, including the filing of responses by all the convicts, before adjourning the hearing until July.
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