During the previous hearing on April 18, the government had claimed privilege and sought adjournment of hearing on the ground that it intended to seek review of the SC’s order to place the original files before the court.
Though the government clarified that it would not seek review, the hearing in the case could not move forward as one convict had so far not been served notice and other convicts sought adjournment to file response on Bilkis’ plea. The notice in the case was issued on March 27.
As the lawyers appearing for the convicts sought adjournment and said there was no hurry for early hearing in the case, it was countered by Bilkis’ lawyer Shobha Gupta who submitted that miscarriage of justice was done by their release and justice must be restored at the earliest. She pleaded the court not to allow them to disrupt the proceedings in the case and submitted that hearing be done. But it was strongly opposed by the other side which contended that the court cannot proceed without serving notice to the parties.
Advocate Sanjay Tyagi, appearing for one convict, said Gupta had filed a false affidavit by alleging that all convicts had been served with the notice. However, she said notice was served via e-mail as well to the advocates who were appearing for the convicts. The bench, thereafter, directed fresh notice be served to the unserved convict through local police.
“I will retire on June 19. Since that is during the vacation, my last working day is May 19. It is obvious you do not want this bench to hear the matter. But, this is not fair to me. We had made it absolutely clear that the matter will be heard for disposal. You are officers of the court. Do not forget that role. You may win a case, or lose one. But, do not forget your duty to this court,” Justice Joseph said. The court adjourned hearing for two weeks but fixed May 9 to examine whether all convicts had been served with the notice.