The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the Delhi High Court and trial court decision to award death to all four convicts in the December 16, 2012 gang rape and murder. The judgment was received with an applause from those in the court. The convicts’ lawyer, AP Singh, however, said that they will file review petition in the apex court.
The Supreme Court, that was hearing pleas by the convicts against the High Court and sessions court judgment, said,”If ever a case called for hanging, this was it.” The convicts had been awarded death sentence by the fast track court, which was upheld by the Delhi High Court. The execution had been stayed after the four convicts — Mukesh (27), Pawan (20), Vinay (21) and Akshay (29) — moved the top court. The fifth accused, Ram Singh, had allegedly committed suicide while in jail. The sixth accused, who was a minor at the time of crime, was granted three years in a correction facility by Juvenile Justice Board. He was released from the home in November 2015.
The gang rape and murder or 23-year-old paramedic had led to nation wide outrage and spurred to government to strengthen rape laws.
Here are the highlights:
6.37pm: In its judgment, the apex court said the intention to run the bus over the victim after committing the heinous crime suggested that all possible efforts were made to destroy the evidence. “The casual manner with which she was treated and the devilish manner in which they played with her identity and dignity is humanly inconceivable,” the judgment read.
6.30pm: Congress leader Kapil Sibal welcomes the verdict but says Delhi is “number one” in attack, rape and harassment of women.
6.21pm: The case has come be seen as a landmark in India as it led to strengthening of rape laws. After the public uproar over the incident, a panel was constituted to relook intp laws related to sexual assault. Acting on the suggestions of the Justice JS Verma panel, Parliament passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013, which came into effect on April 2, 2013. The Act widened the definition of rape. A look at how the law has made punishment more stringent. Read: She lit a flame
6.14pm: Describing it as a crime of “mental perversion and extreme brutality” where in the entire intestine of the victim was perforated” in the “most savage and inhuman manner,” Justice Misra, while reading the judgment said: “It is a story from a different world where there is irreverence for human beings.”
6.04pm: The Supreme Court, in its verdict, upheld the dying declaration of the victim. She had recorded her statement five days after the incident when she was battling for life. In her last words before the magistrate she sought death penalty for the convicts. Read: The victims’ dying statement
5.50pm: Rajiv Mohan, who was the public prosecutor in the case in the lower courts, says Supreme Court has passed a good judgment. The counsel of the convicts, however, said that the court had bowed to public pressure and he would be filing a review petition. Read: Convicts to move review petition
5.40pm: Congress president Sonia Gandhi reacts to the verdict. “I feel deeply for the courageous family of this brave daughter of India, who rose to become a symbol of every woman’s fight against sexual violence. The court’s judgement is a reminder to each of us to work tirelessly toward building a safe & secure environment for women. To lead a life of dignity, pride, respect and equality is the right of every daughter of India and it is for all of us to ensure that she gets it,” she said.
5.30pm: Reacting to the verdict, inspector Anil Sharma, who was the station house officer of the Vasant Vihar police station in December 2016, says he had promised to himself that he would get justice for the 23-year-old paramedical student. Read: Cop who led the probe says he is ‘scarred for life’
5.16pm: One of the lawyers, BL Kapoor, while hailing the apex court’s verdict said that it was one of the rarest of the rare cases as it shocked the collective conscience of the society. “The brutality with which the crime was committed, it makes it come under rarest of the rarest cases. The Supreme Court upheld the High court’s judgment citing its earlier judgment that the one which shocks the collective conscience of the society is dubbed as rarest of rarest case,” he told ANI.
5.06pm: Justice Banumathi, who read the concurring judgment said that except the Dhananjoy Chatterjee case, in no other rape and murder case, capital punishment had been executed.She has also suggested certain other measures to ensure gender justice in the society.
4.58pm: Union Minister Ravishankar Prasad hails the verdict saying that it was a big day for the Indian judiciary system. “This is a big day for the Indian judiciary system. I know this was a serious and sensitive issue for the entire nation. I am very happy and satisfied with the court’s verdict. I wish her soul will rest in peace,” Prasad said.
Desh ke kanoon ke raaj ke liye bahut bada din hai.Jo nirnay kiya gaya hai mai usse bahut sukoon mehsus kar raha hoon-Union Law Min RS Prasad pic.twitter.com/9QkRfqnJEn— ANI (@ANI_news) May 5, 2017
4.48pm: Father of the victim’s friend (who was there in the bus) said his son was content with the decision as it will warn others against committing such crimes. “We all are very satisfied with the verdict. My son seems content now. This decision will prohibit people from committing such heinous crimes,” he said. Read: Victim’s male friend battles survivor’s guilt
4.38pm: Shiv Sena calls it a ‘landmark’ judgment which will deter others from committing such heinous crimes. ”This is a landmark judgment and on behalf of all the women of India I would like to say that somewhere Nirbhaya has got justice. After the huge sacrifice that she has made. This types of judgment should deter other criminals,” Shiv Sena leader Manisha Kayande said.
4.30pm: Congress spokesperson Randeep S Surjewala questions why the Nirbhaya Fund constituted to take steps for safety of women had remained untilised. In a series of tweets he raises issues of women safety and flags rise in crimes against women in Delhi and across the country.
4.25pm: Responding to the verdict, Swati Maliwal, chief of the New Delhi Commission for Women, said people in India were not scared of committing crimes because of long delays in bringing them to justice. “Even in this case, it has taken five years. But at least in five years, we are coming to a conclusion. There are women in the country who have been fighting court battles for 10 to 15 years,” she said.
4.20pm: The four convicts will be kept under strict watch in Tihar jail. Jail officials said that the wardens in the respective jails where they are lodged have been told to stay vigilant and report any abnormality in the behaviour of the four. Read: Convicts on ‘suicide watch’ in Tihar jail after verdict
4.15pm: Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also welcomes the SC decision to uphold the death sentence awarded to the convicts, in a series of tweets. Says the verdict will create fear and deterrence in crimes against women.
I strongly support Supreme Court's decision of death penalty in #Nirbhayaverdict. It is a lesson for people who dare such heinous crime.— ShivrajSingh Chouhan (@ChouhanShivraj) May 5, 2017
4.05pm: AAP leader Kumar Vishwas welcomes the verdict in an emotional tweet. He prayed for peace to the victim who had lost her life in the barbaric incident. “Behen nirbhaya ham sharminda hain ki hum sabke rehte aisa hua. Ishwar tumhari aatma ko santosh de ki nirmam gunhagaaron ko aakhir uchit saza mili,” he tweeted.
3.55pm: Women’s rights activist Ranjana Kumari calls it a historic judgement. “This is a historic message to all the people, the criminal mindset who wrong women, who inflict violence on women, to know that if you do something like this you will be also paying for it by the severest punishment that exists in our laws of the land,” she said.
3.45pm: Victim’s parents says from now on, they will fight for justice for other girls against whom criminal acts are committed. The victim’s mother had said before the judgment that she will settle for nothing less than death sentence. Read: Was living for this day, says victim’s mother
3.35pm: The victim’s mother, who was present in the jam-packed court room when the verdict was pronounced, says justice has finally been done. “We thank all who supported us in the difficult times. Though we have lost our daughter, we are satisfied that the court has awarded death sentence to her perpetrators,” she said.
3.25pm: Unhappy with SC’s verdict convict lawyer AP Singh says human rights had been neglected in the verdict. “You cannot give a death sentence to anyone for a message to the nation. The meaning of punishment is improvement. There is a right to live. In this, the human rights have been neglected, Mahatma Gandhi’s ideology has been neglected as this is violence,” Singh said.
3.25pm: While the verdict came on Friday noon, the ‘juvenile’ convicted in the case has been settled in south India where he works as a cook. “He was always worried about getting lynched and that is why he was sent to the southern part of the country,” said a NGO official, who was part of his rehabilitation process. Read: Juvenile ‘unaware’ of verdict, works as cook
3.20pm: Senior advocate Siddhartha Luthra who represented Delhi Police says credit goes to the able team of Delhi Police that collected unimpeachable scientific evidence to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt. He agrees with the SC ruling that if death penalty has to be imposed it’s this case. Read: The men who killed the Delhi braveheart
3.15pm: Justice not done, we will file review petition after reading the order, says AP Singh, lawyer of convict.
3.10pm: CPI leader Brinda Karat says she is against death penalty, but adds that this was such a heinous crime that strictest punishment was needed. “Selective nature of the judicial process of our country is why I am against death penalty. What happened in Bilkis Bano case,” she says.
3.05pm: Union minister for women and child development, Maneka Gandhi, welcomes judgment. “A judgment like this was necessary to send a stern. A judgment like this was necessary to send a stern message to people who commit such heinous crimes,” she says.
3.02pm: “It’s a victory for my family,I am very happy with the judgment,” says Nirbhaya’s father, adds that the judgment took time but now he has no complaints. After the juvenile convict was released in 2015 the victim’s parents had been distraught and sad ‘crime has won’.
2.57pm: Before the verdict was announced, the doctor who treated the December 16 gang rape victim that night said she survived 13 days because she was tough. He said that the only thing that could have saved her was an intestinal transplant, but no one had ever attempted it.
2.52pm: Court admitted that the entire intestine of the victim was perforated and internal organs were pulled out. “This act demonstrates perversion of the accused. Accused found object of enjoyment in the victim,” the court said. Read: How the braveheart fought till the end
2.42pm: Court also said that it had considered mitigating factors like aged parents, marital status and conduct, young age before reaching its judgment.
2.32pm: The Supreme Court judgment said there was scientific evidence to show how far the accused proceeded establishing criminal conspiracy allegations against the accused.
2.22pm: Justice Banumathi rises to pronounce her concurring judgment. Says there should be systematic education of children of to ensure how they will give respect to women.
2.20pm: “It’s a tsunami of shock in the minds of the collective and destroyed humanity. Death for all four. Compelled to arrive aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigating circumstances.” The judgment is received with an applause from lawyers and parents in the court.
2.18pm: “DNA profiling proves presence of accused in the crime. Evidence with regard to finger prints of the accused in absolutely impeccable.” Judgment says trial court and HC correctly placed reliance on evidence.
2.15pm: “Dying declaration of the victim with gesture is reliable. Victim stood embedded with her version. It received corroboration from medical evidence.” Read: How authenticity of victim’s dying declaration was questioned
2.10pm: “Evidence of victim’s friend is unimpeachable and relied upon. Can’t disregard the CCTV footage establishing the movement of the bus. Custodial confession do not remotely create a dent in police investigation. Relationship between the six established.” Read: Forensic, other evidence prove police case
2.06pm: “Present case is one where there can be no denial narrative is long investigation has been cautious, Morden scientific tools adopted for investigation.”
2.04pm: Justice Misra begins to read judgment: “It was a devastating hour of darkness for the 23 year old paramedic. The victim’s parts were ruptured to give vent to the sexual desires. Lying naked they shouted for help as good fortune have it a night patrolling vehicle arrived.”
2.02pm: There are two judgments: One by Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Ashok Bhushan. Justice Bhanumathi gives a concurring judgment.
1.59pm: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy backed the decision to award capital punishment to the accused. “It was very tragic incident, which has blotted the civilization of India. In my opinion there is no doubt what so ever, that all of them were guilty and I think nothing other than capital punishment should be given by the SC,” Swamy told ANI. Read: Subramanian Swamy’s plea for trying juvenile as adult accused dismissed
1.51pm: Lawyers are crowding inside the courtroom where the parents of the victim and amicus curiae have already arrived.
1.48pm: The victim died on December 29, 2012 within a fortnight of the incident. The case had led to public uproar and resulted in series of protests for justice and building pressure on the Delhi Police to nab the accused. Read: How police nailed the convicts
1.38pm: As the apex court is set to deliver the much-awaited verdict, political leaders expressed faith that justice will be done. “We have full faith on the Supreme Court that they will give severe punishment to accused,” said Congress leader Shakeel Ahmad.
1.35pm: Amicus curiae — Sanjay Hegde and Raju Ramachandran — reach court 2 for the judgment. Parents of the victim also enter court room 2.
1.25pm: The High Court began daily hearing in the case on September 25, 2013. The HC upheld their death sentence on March 13, 2014. Read: How the case proceeded
1.15pm: The initial verdict in the case by fast-track court was given on September 13, 2013. The court had convicted the four accused on all 13 counts of offence and awarded the death.
1.05pm: SC had, last year, rejected defence counsel ML Sharma’s claim that the victim was not assaulted with iron rods. Rejecting Sharma’s claims , the court had said that the matter could not be raised at the stage of appeal.
1.05pm: The death sentence was pronounced by the trial court had on September 13, 2013. The court had said they be “hanged till death” as the “beastly” and “hair-raising” manner in which the crime was committed against the girl fell in the rarest-of-the-rare category.
12.57pm: A Delhi High Court bench of justices Reva Khetrapal and Pratibha Rani had on March 13, 2014, upheld the death sentence of Mukesh Singh, 26, Akshay Thakur, 28, Pawan Gupta, 19, and Vinay Sharma, 20, saying their crime falls in the rarest-of-the rare category, which warrants death penalty.
12.47pm: The Supreme Court had decided to re-hear the case on the sentencing aspect, after the petitioners contend that there have been violations in procedure.
12.37pm: On August 31, 2013, the Juvenile Justice Board sentenced the minor accused to a three-year stay in special home, which is the maxim sentence allowed to juvenile accused. The juvenile, now 21, was released in November 2015.
12.27pm: The victim’s mother reaches Supreme Court for the verdict. “The court must sentence them to death. We won’t settle for life imprisonment. I am alive and kept myself strong only to see this day,” the mother told HT over the phone on Friday.Read the full interview here
12.25pm: Defending the four are senior advocates Raju Ramachandran and Sanjay Hegde. They were not hired by the convicts, but the SC bench led by justice Dipak Misra appointed them as “friends of the court” to “interpret the police evidence” and render assistance.
12.15pm: On the day of verdict, the mother of 23-year-old victim says she will not settle for anything less than death sentence. “There were days, when I felt justice will take forever but today is the day. The court will punish them. They should be hanged and a precedent set that no man will be let off in such cases,” she told HT on Friday.
12.05pm: The verdict was reserved by a bench headed by Justice Dipak Mishra in March this year after hearing in the matter spread for almost a year.
(With Agency inputs)