The horrific Nirbhaya gangrape case that took place on December 16, 2012 shook the nation. Those who will face the gallows are Mukesh (29), Pawan (22), Vinay Sharma (23) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31).
The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the death sentence for four convicts of the December 16 Nirbhaya gang rape case. The SC confirmed the findings of the trial court and the Delhi High Court against the four convicts in the case. A three-judge bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra wrote two separate but concurring judgements in the case.
The apex court said, “taking the serious injuries, the severe nature of offence committed by the convicts, we are upholding the sentence”.
“It’s a barbaric crime and it has shaken the society’s conscience,” Justice R Banumathi told a packed courtroom as the three-judge Supreme Court panel threw out an appeal on behalf of the defendants. “If this case isn’t rarest of rare to award death penalty, then which case can fall under it,” Banumathi added.
The court said that the aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigating circumstances in the case and the offence had created a “tsunami of shock” in the country. “The nature and manner of the crime devastated social trust, falls in the ‘rarest of rare’ category warranting death penalty.” “Victim’s dying declaration is consistent; it has been proved beyond doubt and corroborated,” the SC said. “The convicts treated the victim as an object of enjoyment, with the single purpose of ravishing her. The convicts’ background, age, no criminal record, good behaviour in prison cannot outweigh aggravating circumstances”
“Scientific evidence like DNA profiling of victim and accused proves to the hilt about their presence at the crime spot,” the SC said, adding, “Criminal conspiracy of 6 men established; all efforts made to destroy evidence like running bus over victim, her friend.” The court said, “Testimony of victim’s friend who was with her in bus and the first prosecution witness is relied upon.”
The matter was heard by the apex court bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra and consisting of Justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan. The convicts – Akshay, Pawan, Vinay Sharma and Mukesh, had challenged the Delhi High Court order which had sentenced them to the gallows.
Earlier, the trial court also had sentenced all the four convicts to death penalty, and the apex court too did not grant relief to the accused.
Justice Dipak Misra is believed to be exceedingly sensitive to women’s rights and liberties. He had earlier upheld rape as depravity and not curable and recently, passed a woman friendly judgement saying that “no woman can be compelled to love; she always has right to say no”.
One of the accused, Ram Singh hanged himself in prison in 2013, while another accused, who was a juvenile at the time of the crime, was released in December 2015 after serving three years in a reform home.
The brutal crime against Nirbhaya had created public furore for a more stringent law to deal with sex crimes against women. The 23-year-old physiotherapy intern was brutally assaulted and raped by six persons on a moving 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 on December 29, 2012.