Nirbhaya's rapists will be hanged, SC rejects convicts' pleaLast updated on Jul 09, 2018, 02:32 pm
The Supreme Court (SC) has upheld the death penalty of three convicts in the Nirbhaya rape case, who had filed review petitions.
The fourth hasn't filed a petition till now, but his lawyer asserts he will.
It is noteworthy that these criminals were sentenced to death by a trial court, a judgment later upheld by the Delhi HC and the SC itself, before today.
The crime that shook India's conscience
On December 16, 2012, India trembled as horrifying news came out of the capital: six men had given a ride to a 23-year-old paramedic student and her friend that night, then gangraped her brutally in the moving bus, thrusting iron rods inside her.
Her friend was beaten up.
After having their way, they threw both out on the road on the wintry night, almost naked.
Nirbhaya succumbed after fighting for two weeks
After she was taken to Safdarjung Hospital, doctors found that 'Nirbhaya,' as the victim was termed later by media, had had her internal organs ruptured and was critical.
Ten days later, her condition deteriorated. She was then flown to Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital.
She finally succumbed on December 29.
Meanwhile, protests broke out all over the country. A Delhi cop died in a demonstration which turned violent.
The faces behind the heinous crime
Within two days, police had arrested four of the accused: bus driver Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma.
A juvenile involved was nabbed from Delhi's Anand Vihar bus terminal five days after the crime.
On December 21-22, police arrested the sixth accused, Akshay Thakur, in Bihar's Aurangabad.
These criminals faced trials for murder, gangrape, kidnapping and unnatural offenses, among others.
A timeline of the judicial process since then
On March 11, 2013, Ram Singh was found hanging in his cell at Tihar Jail.
On August 31, the juvenile was sentenced to three years at a probation home. He is now out.
On September 13, a fast-track court sentenced Mukesh, Akshay, Vinay and Pawan to death.
On March 13, 2014, the Delhi HC upheld the verdict.
On May 5, 2017, the SC too upheld it.
Convicts' lawyer alleges tampering of evidence, 'bribery' of Nirbhaya's parents
Advocate ML Sharma, appearing for Mukesh, has alleged his client's call records show he wasn't present at the scene during the heinous crime.
His confession was allegedly extracted through torture.
Mukesh's name was not present in the victim's dying statement either.
Sharma hinted at tampering of evidence.
But the SC judges' patience broke when he accused Nirbhaya's parents of taking bribes.
Amicus curiae also raise questions on evidence by prosecution
Sanjay Hegde and Raju Ramachandran, both amicus curiae, had raised doubts on the sentencing. Hegde said it was possible only one person had committed the crime, and questioned the merits of the evidence submitted by the prosecution. Ramachandran concluded there was "no fair trial for the accused."
If convicts don't get relief, they have more options
Now that the SC has dismissed their petition, they still have options. They could file a curative petition, wherein they must state the grounds mentioned in it had been included in the review petition too, and dismissed by circulation.
There's no time limit for this.
They could also seek presidential mercy; the President will decide their fate in consultation with the council of ministers.