Two mothers sat on opposite sides of the courtroom. Both were teary-eyed after the pronouncement of the verdict in the December 16 gangrape case,where all accused were held guilty.
The family of the 23-year-old paramedic student,who died after she was brutally raped by six men aboard a moving bus,and that of two of the accused contrasted each other as they sat in the court of Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna on Tuesday afternoon.
While one set of parents were surrounded by police and well-wishers,the other huddled in a corner,hiding their faces from the swarming media.
As the judge pronounced his verdict and left the court,policemen surrounding Pawan,Vinay,Akshay and Mukesh the four held guilty hurried them out of the courtroom,leaving lawyers and mediapersons waiting for the detailed order. Vinay was seen breaking down after the judge announced the order. The other three seemed bewildered as they followed the policemen out of the courtroom.
The parents and brother of the paramedic student were sitting with the cases investigating officer,who asked the media to respect the privacy of the family and not ask for comments. The womans mother only reiterated her familys demand for a death penalty.
The womans brother,however,said he was disappointed that the accused had been acquitted of one of the charges. He was referring to the courts decision to not hold the accused guilty of causing death during a dacoity under Section 396 of the IPC. The court had noted that the death of the woman was a result of the injuries caused during the gangrape and assault,and was not related to the robbery.
The offence of dacoity had been added to the charges since the accused had robbed the woman and her friend of their phones,purses and other valuables.
Mukeshs aged mother,who was sitting in a corner,drew her sari over her face and turned away from the reporters,pleading not to be asked questions.
A few minutes later,police escorted both the families out of the courtroom.
The contrast in attitude between the two families was also reflected in the attitude of the prosecution and defence lawyers. As senior public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan,special prosecutors Rajiv Mohan,A Ansari and Madhav Khurana heaved sighs of relief,defence lawyers were seen complaining.
Why are errors in the prosecution evidence dismissed as irrelevant and the human error in the evidence we submitted not given similar treatment? advocate V K Anand,who represented Mukesh,said.
The judge is not in the mood to hear anything,all we have left to say is mujhko ranaji maaf karna,galti mhare se ho gayi (I have made a mistake,please forgive me), advocate A P Singh,who represented Vinay and Akshay,said.
Pawans counsel said the verdict was a non-shocker. I knew,the accused knew and the world knew that they would get convicted. The only thing they can do is ask for a lighter sentence tomorrow, advocate Vivek Sharma said.
The court is set to hear arguments on the quantum of sentence on Wednesday morning. Mukeshs lawyers have said they would plead against death penalty since his role was limited as he was only driving the bus.