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Delhi gang rape case: Finally Nirbhaya Got Justice: SC confirms death for four

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A juvenile involved in the crime was released some time back while another convict committed suicide in the Tihar Jail.

“She was an object for their enjoyment… for their gross, sadistic pleasures… for the devilish manner in which they played with her dignity and identity.”

These were the final words with which Justice Dipak Misra concluded the pronouncement of the Supreme Court judgment confirming the death penalty for the four convicts in the 2012 Delhi gang rape and murder case, which shook the entire nation with its brutality.

Claps resounded through the courtroom from the visitors’ gallery when Justice Misra, flanked by Justices R. Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan, read out the part upholding the Delhi High Court’s decision to the send the 23-year-old paramedic’s attackers to the gallows. Justice Banumathi delivered a separate but concurring judgment, observing that if these convicts do not deserve death penalty no others do.

This judgment on Friday is the final note of justice in the case. It is the culmination of the marathon hearings the court held for over a year, as the convicts — Mukesh, Pawan, Akshay Kumar Singh and Vinay Sharma — appealed against the death penalty awarded to them.

The girl was brutally assaulted and raped by the four convicts and two others in a bus in South Delhi and thrown out of the vehicle with her male friend on the night of December 16, 2012. She died days later in a Singapore hospital.

A juvenile involved in the crime was released some time back while another convict committed suicide in the Tihar Jail.

Among the many arguments of defence they cited in their favour, the four convicts, finally, during the last days of the appeals’ hearing in March 2017, attempted to tap the court’s mercy by listing out mitigating factors like how they were first-time offenders, were young of age, had small children and aged parents whose lIves would become “calamitous” if they were put to death. They had claimed to have reformed, repented and never misbehaved in jail.

But the court threw out this plea, and instead listed out the brutal perversion of their crime.

The court agreed with Delhi Police counsel and senior advocate Siddharth Luthra that anything short of the death penalty would be a “devastation of social trust”.

The court acknowledged Mr. Luthra’s submission that the depravity of the crime “invites indignation of society and created a fear psychosis. This case was indeed rarest of rare, considering the brutal and diabolic nature of the crime”.

To the convicts who sought mercy, the court read out the “entire medical history of the victim — the shattered, perforated intestine caused by the repeated insertion of an iron rod, the tearing of her clothes, looting of her personal belongings and aggravated sexual assault”.

After all what they suffered in the bus, the victim and her companion were thrown out naked in the cold winter night. As they lay on the road, the convicts tried to silence them by running the bus over them. They consciously tried to destroy evidence and left them there for dead, the court said highlighting the extent of “mental perversion” involved in the crime.

Spelling out each of the arguments raised in the appeal hearings, the court gave primary emphasis on the victim’s dying declaration, which was made in gestures. The judgment said the dying declaration proved beyond doubt the guilt of the convicts and nailed the case for the police.

The court said there was no reason to disbelieve the CCTV images of the four men on the fateful night. It confirmed the prosecution version that they were in the bus and substantiated their movements in that night in the vicinity of the crime.

The court threw out the defence claims that the convicts were subjected to torture in custody for their confessions. The court said this was a “specious plea” and did not even remotely dent the police case.

Noting that the personal search of the convicts, recoveries made in the case at their behest all pointed to their guilt, the court said their DNA was a perfect match.

It chucked out the convicts’ claim that DNA was planted on them through blood transfusion.

The court said scientific evidence conclusively proved criminal conspiracy on the part of the convicts to commit the crime.

The judgment began with how on that “cold evening” of December 6, 2012, the victim had gone out for a movie, never for a moment suspecting that the next few hours would see her life come to a “devastating end”.

The brutal crime committed against the girl created a public furore with a loud demand for more stringent law to deal with sex crimes against women.

The crime led to the enactment of the the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013 or the Anti-Rape Bill, which was later called the Nirbhaya Act. The new law mandated the death penalty under Section 376A in the Indian Penal Code.

Under Section 376A, whoever commits a rape which leads to the death of the victim or causes her to be in a “persistent vegetative state” shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a minimum term of 20 years, which may extend to life or with death.


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