On 16th December 2012 when the whole nation was gearing up for festivities, a heinous incident took place that shocked everyone. The rape of a 23- year old paramedic student aroused nationwide protests. This outburst of anger and frustration changed the mood of the people as they demanded stronger laws for women.
The fight for justice which began that day has finally culminated today. The Patiala House Court in Delhi issued a death warrant for the four convicts. They will to be hanged on 22nd January 2020 at 7 AM in Tihar Jail. The order was pronounced by Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora during the hearing of plea for the issuance of ‘black warrant’.
The Supreme Court has confirmed the death penalty. At the same time, it has dismissed the petition by Akshay, one of the four accused, which sought a review of 2017 judgement. The Supreme Court remarked that the review petition was not “re-hearing of appeal over and over again”.
The death sentence does not leave the accused without any legal options. While announcing the sentence, the Supreme Court has given them a time span of 14 days to exercise their legal rights. They can file mercy plea before the President and curative plea in the Supreme Court. The curative plea is the last judicial resort to answer whether the aggrieved is entitled to any relief against the final judgement. Speaking to the media regarding this, the convicts’ lawyer, A.P. Singh said that he will be filing a curative plea within a day or two.
JUSTICE IN ACTION
The justice achieved has come after a long battle that was fought in the courtroom. On September 10, 2013, the four adult accused were found guilty of rape, murder, unnatural offences and destruction of evidence. Their hearing saw demonstrations and protests outside the court. On September 13,2013, they were sentenced to death by hanging.
On March 13,2014, the case was looked in by the High Court of Delhi which upheld the punishment awarded to them categorizing it as ‘the rarest of the rare’ cases which allows capital punishment.
However, the Supreme Court on March 15, 2014, put a stay on the execution of two convicts, Mukesh Singh and Pawan Gupta. This stay allowed them to make an appeal against conviction. Months later, the other two convicts too asked for stay on their execution in order to make an appeal.
Later in it’s 2017 judgement, the Supreme Court rejected the appeal of the convicts addressing that they had committed ‘a barbaric crime’ that had ‘shaken society’s conscience’. The review petitions filed for the same by the three convicts, Mukesh, Pawan and Vinay were rejected by the Supreme Court in July,2018.
Finally, as a last step in this battle, today, on January 7,2020 they are awarded death sentence.
Besides these four, there were two more accused. While Ram Singh committed suicide, the juvenile Raju was released after three years in reform home
STRENGTHENED TRUST IN JUDICIARY
“There are certain crimes where ‘humanity cries’ and this case is one of them. On that fateful day, God also must have held His head in shame for two reasons. First, for not being able to save the innocent girl, and second, for having created these five monsters.” This was the argument put forward by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta against the review.
The cries of humanity are answered after this judgement. The citizens and the parents of Nirbhaya have welcomed this judgement. Speaking to the media Nirbhaya’s mother, Asha Devi has said, ” Execution of the four convicts will empower the women of the country. This decision will strengthen the trust of people in the judicial system.”
Nirbhaya’s father, Badrinath Singh was happy with the judgement of the court. He said, ” This decision will instill fear in the people who commit such crime.”
Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia too were happy with this long awaited decision. Swati Maliwal, the chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women saluted Nirbhaya’s parents and welcomed the decision. She called it a win for ‘all the ‘Nirbhayas’ living in this country’.
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