Nirbhaya gangrape case: Barbaric and diabolical, says SC, upholds death for December 16 accused

Nirbhaya gangrape verdict: As soon as the judges read out their verdict, some visitors in the visitors gallery inside the jam-packed courtroom broke into applause.

Written by ANANTHAKRISHNAN G | New Delhi | Updated: May 6, 2017 8:27 am
nirbhaya, nirbhaya gang rape case, nirbhaya verdict, death sentence, 2012 delhi gang rape, december 16 gangrape, nirbhaya death sentence, sc nirbhaya verdict, nirbhaya judgement, supreme court, nirbhaya, 2012 gangrape case, damini, damini gangrape case, india news, indian express Nirbhaya gangrape case: Asha Devi, mother of the December 16 victim, at the Supreme Court on Friday before the verdict. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

CALLING their crime “most brutal, barbaric and diabolical”, the Supreme Court today upheld the death sentence for the four men convicted of the rape and murder of the 23-year-old paramedical student onboard a bus on December 16, 2012. The death sentence was awarded to them by a trial court and later confirmed by the High Court.

The case, which prompted nationwide protests and led to a change in rape laws was the “rarest of rare,” the court said as it dismissed appeals filed by the convicts Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Kumar Singh. The three-judge bench comprising Justices Dipak Mishra, Ashok Bhushan and R Banumathi said, in two separate judgements, that the appellants deserved the death sentence.

In one, Justices Dipak Mishra and Ashok Bhushan minced few words while upholding the extreme punishment for the appellants.

“It is necessary to state here that in the instant case, the brutal, barbaric and diabolic nature of the crime is evincible from the acts committed by the accused persons…The casual manner with which she was treated and the devilish manner in which they played with her identity and dignity is humanly inconceivable. It sounds like a story from a different world where humanity has been treated with irreverence. The appetite for sex, the hunger for violence, the position of the empowered and the attitude of perversity, to say the least, are bound to shock the collective conscience which knows not what to do. It is manifest that the wanton lust, the servility to absolutely unchained carnal desire and slavery to the loathsome bestiality of passion ruled the mindset of the appellants to commit such a crime which can summon with immediacy ‘tsunami’ of shock in the mind of the collective and destroy the civilised marrows of the milieu in entirety,” the judges said in their order.

Nirbhaya gangrape case investigative officer Chaya Sharma with her team outside the Supreme Court which upheld the death sentence for the four convicts in the case in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI Photo)

They rejected the appellants’ plea that they were poor, were married with young children, had aged parents and were on the reformative path in prison: “When we cautiously, consciously and anxiously weigh the aggravating circumstances and the mitigating factors, we are compelled to arrive at the singular conclusion that the aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigating circumstances now brought on record. Therefore we conclude and hold that the High Court has correctly confirmed the death penalty and we see no reason to differ with the same.”

In her separate judgement, Justice R Banumathi concurred with the conclusions of Justices Mishra and Bhushan but gave her own reasons for it.

“Crimes like the one before us cannot be looked with magnanimity. Factors like young age and poor background cannot be said to be mitigating circumstances…In the present case there is not even a hesitation in my mind with respect to the aggravating circumstances outweighing the mitigating circumstances and I do not find any justification to convert the death sentence imposed by the court below to life imprisonment for the rest of the life.

The gruesome offenses were committed with highest viciousness. Human lust was allowed to take such a demonic form…If at all there is a case warranting death sentence, it is the present case. If the dreadfulness displayed by the accused in committing the gang-rape, unnatural sex, insertion of iron rods in the private parts of the victim does not fall in the rarest of rare category, then one may wonder what else would fall in that category,” Justice Banumathi wrote.

The judge also touched on the need for sensitising the society to fight crimes against women. “Stringent legislation and punishments alone may not be sufficient for fighting increasing crimes against women. In our tradition-bound society, certain attitudinal change and change in the mind-set is needed to respect women and to ensure gender justice. Right from childhood years, children ought to be sensitised to respect women…Gender equality should be made part of the school curriculum….Apart from effective implementation of the various legislation protecting women, change in the mindset of the society at large and creating awareness in the public on gender justice can go a long way to combat violence against women.”

nirbhaya, nirbhaya gang rape case, nirbhaya verdict, death sentence, 2012 delhi gang rape, december 16 gangrape, nirbhaya death sentence, sc nirbhaya verdict, nirbhaya judgement, supreme court, nirbhaya, 2012 gangrape case, damini, damini gangrape case, india news, indian express The December 16 gangrape victim’s parents who were inside the courtroom when the order was being pronounced were seen exchanging hugs and greetings with well wishers. (Express Photo)

As soon as the judges read out their verdict, some visitors in the visitors gallery inside the jam-packed courtroom broke into applause.

There were also some lighter moments with Advocate A P Singh, one of the counsel representing the accused recited an Urdu couplet to convey his disillusionment with the order. To this Justice Banumathi replied that the counsel must submit an English translation of the verse provoking laughter in the courtroom.

The victim’s parents who were inside the courtroom when the order was being pronounced were seen exchanging hugs and greetings with well wishers. “I was confident that the SC will uphold the death sentence,” said the father. “The incident (rape and murder) was a message to society and the verdict too is a message to society,” the mother added as lawyers and visitors tried to take selfies with them.

Welcoming the order, Delhi police counsel Sidharth Luthra said “In India, convicts are given leniency and mitigating circumstances are given undue importance. In this case, the court has rightly held that the aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigating circumstances.”

The accused have the option of approaching the apex court with a review petition and then a curative petition. If both fail, they can go to the President with a mercy plea which can again be challenged in the Supreme Court.
Though there were a total of six accused in the case, one of them Ram Singh committed suicide in prison while the other was a juvenile and hence tried by a juvenile court and sent to a reformatory for three years.

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  1. C
    May 7, 2017 at 6:06 am
    There is something not being addressed here, which is that the death penalty was awarded only because the victim died as a result of her injuries. Had she lived, even if severely traumatized, the judgement would never have even come close to the death penalty. Indeed, it could well have been anything extending up to ten years at most, however brutal, barbaric and diabolical the crime of rape might have been. The power of the courts is limited to the confines of the IPC and CRPC, and generally speaking, there is no room for sentiments and emotions. Rape is rape, brutal or not, period. Unless the laws regarding rape are amended, nothing can be done. As far as the crime is concerned, it's murder and not rape that has been the pivotal factor here.
    1. S
      May 6, 2017 at 1:27 pm
      Supreme court biased judgement against Dalit community, justice system in India is already failed by BJP. Due to which masses are loosing faith on the justice system, consequently masses will take justice system in hands. Indian justice system always wants to save Brahmin.
      1. R
        May 6, 2017 at 12:49 pm
        Why does it take 4 years ? Rape cases should be fast tracked and judgement delivered in 3 months with execution within a stipulated period . Public should get the message that this crime will attract instant justice do that it acts as a deterrent. The conviction rate is dismal in such cases . Why ? Has the Supreme Court ever wondered?
        1. B
          Bir Chand
          May 6, 2017 at 12:16 pm
          Now that a broader frame work of cir stances and Court ru s on the issue stands laid down the Apex Court should entrust all pending / ongoing appeals, SLPs, etc to this bench which should hear all such cases on Sa ays to expedite their disposal. The Apex Court should follow the working pattern of Yogi and Modi so that huge pendency is brought down. There is every likelihood that some senior Counsels like Kapil Sibal, Ram Jethmalani or Prashant Bhushan and few other may oppose such a move but people at large appreciated the conclusion of this case in 4 years time. Time has come when sufficient number of similar cases should be dispossed off simultaneously so that public confidence in justice delivery system is restored.
          1. E
            Eve Fernandez
            May 6, 2017 at 12:15 pm
            The parents look very happy in the video. Their faces radiant. Have they forgotten their daughter on this day? Are they are not aware of their loss? They look to be overwhelmed by the publicity they are getting rather than having thoughts of their brutally killed daughter.
            1. K
              May 6, 2017 at 11:35 am
              This moron not only raped the girl but also brutally ulted her. How this people can request / expect pity from the society? Some time I feel Shariat rules should be applicable for such crimes.
              1. M
                Mohammad Dar
                May 6, 2017 at 12:01 pm
                and what would you suggest for the rapi st of his baby sister Ra m ,to promote hind crime of hinduism racism as a faith, beside many more hindu filthy actors of violent se x ual encounters with their sib s, prosti tuted as the role models of immorality of hinduism racism by faith, and pra to , as man gods?
              2. L
                May 6, 2017 at 10:53 am
                Nirbhaya was not only raped but went beyond . These beasts did not not leave any part of the body. They deserve slow and painful death. Even God of Death should be afraid to visit them. They deserve such painful death, unheard in human history.
                1. D
                  Damodar Biswal
                  May 6, 2017 at 11:04 am
                  Yes,the beasts deserve painful death.Hanging them may not be enough.The juvenile who escaped death should also have been given death sentence.
                2. I
                  May 6, 2017 at 8:53 am
                  The verdict has been delivered after 4 years..... that was understood and believed that the culprits will be punished and it was matter of time...... what is there to be so happy about takes 4 yrs to complete the law abiding formalities..... the young life is lost...her parents are living their life....only the person is dead n gone........ rapes have taken place before and after....... I believe the best judgement would have been to make a clause for rape and a special law incorporated where a person will never think of doing such a horrendous crime.......where the females would feel safe to walk on the streets......
                  1. D
                    Damodar Biswal
                    May 6, 2017 at 11:06 am
                    Ours is a democracy,sir.The human right activists will not allow it to happen.
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