Nirbhaya Case: 16th December of 2012 was the day when India witnessed a horrific incident. Because of the heinous incident, India lost a daughter once again, but the daughter had to go through more than what is called heart-wrenching. It was the night when Jyoti Singh was gang raped and her friend Awindra Pratap Pandey was almost beaten to death. Though, he somehow escaped the fury of death. Jyoti, was fighting for her life after she had been brutally assaulted by six men.
The six men (Ram Singh, the bus driver, Mukesh Singh, his brother, Vinay Sharma, an assistant gym instructor, Pawan Gupta, a fruit seller, Akshay Thakur and a Juvenile) were already present in a bus that Jyoti along with her male friend boarded. It is believed that the men on the bus passed some comment to which Jyoti and her friend reacted. After this, the men couldn’t stand that a woman raised her voice. In order to satisfy their ego, they raped Jyoti. One of them was a juvenile too and is said to be the most brutal one. Jyoti’s private part was damaged that caused extensive internal bleeding. They were thrown from the moving bus in Mahipalpur area. A few passersby noticed and informed the police.
Those six men were eventually arrested, and a police complaint was filed with charges of gangrape and murder. The victim, on the other hand was struggling to live in the Safdarjung hospital in New Delhi. Upon seeing her condition, even the doctor was left in tears, he said “To date, he has never seen such a picture of humanity’. The injuries were so grave that she was flown to the Mount Elizabeth hospital in Singapore on the 26th December 2012. On the 29th December 2012, 13 days after that heinous incident, she breathed her last. She had been a fighter all this while and had the zeal to live. Hence, media and everyone preferred calling her Nirbhaya which means fearless. Also, of course, Indian Media is not allowed to name a rape victim or of sexual assault as per the directions from the Supreme Court of India.
Out of the six accused, Ram Singh died within the four walls of police custody. Police claim that it was a suicide while his family and lawyer claim that it was a murder. After the death of Ram Singh on the 11th of March, 2013 inside the Tihar Jail, the list of proofs and evidences were presented until the 8th of July, 2013. After this, the juvenile was sent to a reform facility as per the Juvenile Justice Act 2000. Rest of the four adults were found guilty and were sentenced to death on the 10th of September 2013 by a Fast Track Court of Delhi. Several pleas had been filed by the rapists in order to delay their execution; however, the death sentence that had been fixed for the 1st of February 2020 to be in vain once again.
Jyoti Singh AKA Nirbhaya may not be present to witness what has been happening after she left this world; she will definitely be at peace considering the facts that the pending case is showing its progress gradually. She would have been extremely delighted to see how India and people from other countries too have been standing beside her and waiting to hear the judgement.
What Actually Happened on the 16th of December 2012?
Well, it is not an incident that people would love to recall as it was one of the most brutal of mankind. Jyoti Singh, a 23 year old physiotherapist with her friend Awindra Pratap Pandey was returning home from Saket. They went there to watch the movie “Life of Pi”. On their return, most of the public transport refused to take them to Dwarka. They decided to board a bus from Munirka for their destination. It was 9.30 pm when they boarded the bus. Her friend got suspicious when the bus deviated from its usual route. On being asked why the new route has been taken, the men in the bus commented why they had to travel so late at night. One of them shut the door of the bus eventually.
Awindra got into a verbal fight with the men after which he was beaten, physically tortured and left unconscious. In the meantime, Jyoti was dragged to the rear end of the bus and raped. She protested by biting the men, but they wouldn’t stop. In fact, the damage to her private part and intestines was such that the doctors feel it was a blunt object inserted. Two metal rods were found which were believed to have been used for the purpose of penetration. These metal rods were the reason of Jyoti’s immense pain and sufferings.
Action After That
Jyoti Singh succumbed to death on the 29th of December 2012. Five days after her death, a charge sheet was filed against those five men who were adults.
- The six men were arrested within 24 hours of the rape
- Ram Singh hanged himself in Tihar Jail on the 11th of March 2013
- The presentation of pieces of evidence completed on the 8th of July 2013 by the Fast Track Court of Delhi
- The brutal rapists were declared guilty of rape, murder, assault and robbery on the 10th of September 2013 by the Fast Track Court of Delhi
- They were given the death sentence three days after they were found guilty by the Fast Track Court
- The upholding of the guilty verdict took place on the 13th of March 2014 by the High Court of Delhi
- The Juvenile Justice Board decided that the juvenile be tried as a juvenile and not as an adult and be sentenced accordingly. He was further sentenced to three years of Juvenile reform after which he was set free on the 20th of December 2015
- After the death sentence, Mukesh Singh and Pawan Gupta had the liberty to appeal against the conviction on the 31st of March 2014. It got extended to July
- Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur also urged the court to put a stay on their death sentence as they will plea for their conviction
- They got a stay order on the 14th of July 2014 (which court on the decision given by which court?)
- The four accused except the juvenile were also held for robbing Ram Adhar, a carpenter aged 35 and sentenced to ten years of rigorous imprisonment
- The Supreme Court rejected the plea petition of the convicts on the 5th of May 2017
- Another review petition for mercy was filed by three convicts and that too got rejected by the Apex Court on the 9th of July 2018
- Akshay pleaded again to be granted mercy in the month of November 2019
- Curative petitions challenging death sentence of two, Mukesh and Vinay Sharma, were rejected in January 2019 by a group of five judges of the Supreme Court. The judges were RF Nariman, Arun Mishra, Ashok Bhushan, R Banumathi, and NV Ramana
- The first death warrant was declared by a Delhi Court on the 7th of January 2020
- The first execution date was 22nd of January 2020 at 7 am in Tihar Jail
- Mukesh, one of the convicts has filed a mercy plea to the President which was rejected on the 17th of January 2020
- After the plea, the second death warrant as of now is the 1st of February
It was only Mukesh Singh who had exhausted all his legal options until now. The three other accused have not yet. They still have their opportunity to extend the date of execution. Let us wait and watch!
The time before and after death of Nirbhaya have been stressful for India. People had come on roads to protest against the heinous crime. India Gate and Raisina Hills were the two places from where the protest had started. Social Media was trending with posts in favor of Nirbhaya. Everyone wanted justice and nothing else. Few of the renowned names that joined the protests were Baba Ramdev, Activist Rajesh Gangwar, Army Chief General Vijjay Kumar Singh and few other politicians.
The incident was portrayed by BBC in the form of “India’s Daughter”. Produced and Directed by Leslee Udwin, the documentary was banned for some stupid reasons. First of all, it didn’t go well with our the then Home Minister Rajnath Singh. According to him, India should not be portrayed in this way. Secondly, as per a member of BJP, Meenakshi Lekhi, in the parliament stated that the documentary will impact the tourism sector in our country. Thirdly, according to Rajneesh Singh, DCP of Delhi stated that one of the convicts, Mukesh Singh made comments in the documentary. Those statements were absolutely derogatory in nature. Soon these became the reasons for strong public opinion and the ban protest got stronger. However, the BBC felt the horrific state of mind of the rapists need to be told and therefore aired it.
Another piece of art that needs a mention is “Delhi Crime” by Richie Mehta. It is a meticulous series that shows the horrific incident so that awareness is created among the people of India and the world. Richie Mehta is a Canadian filmmaker who released this series in the year 2019. A comic book was also released with the title “Priya’s Shakti”. Another book by Rajesh Talwar has also got its mention. The name of the book is “Courting Injustice: The Nirbhaya Case and its Aftermath”.
From then to now, since Nirbhaya had been raped and murdered, the case has undergone a number of dramatic events and amendments. It brought people together for one cause. With so much strength coming together for Nirbhaya, the case has again gotten delayed. The hanging on the 1st of Feb 2020 got delayed. Yes, another devastating turn for the family of the victim. The lawyer had filed a plea to put a stay order on the date of execution as the four convicts had their legal remedies to complete together with a pending mercy petition by Vinay. Delhi’s Patiala Court agreed to the plea and declared its acceptance as per the constitutional law.
Until then, all convicts except Pawan have used their legal remedies. It was their tactic to delay the date of execution. This has become quite frustrating for everyone. February 11 is the date by when he has to file for his legal remedies. Once that is rejected by the Supreme Court, he will have the final action to delay that is requesting mercy to the President. The High Court of Delhi has ordered that all his pending rights be utilized by the date mentioned.
As the case has been progressing, till date, there has been three death warrants so far. First was the 22nd of January 2020 which got postponed to the 1st of February and now, we have the 3rd of March 2020. The latest death warrant is a hope for the well-wishers of Nirbhaya. Everyone is keeping fingers crossed. The case saw several changes since the second death warrant was delayed for an indefinite period. Mukesh, one of the victims doubted the competency of his lawyer Vrinda Grover. Now, it is Advocate Ravi Qazi looking after his legal rights.
Vinay, on the other hand is said to be on hunger strike as he is close to his execution along with his accomplices. His lawyer further added that he has not been fit mentally and therefore his execution be considered for cancellation.
As predicted, one of the convicts, Pawan Gupta who was yet to file his curative petition finally did it ahead of the fours’ execution. The petition was filed on Friday last week. In his plea, he requests that his death warrant be converted to life imprisonment. On 2nd March, 1 day before the date of hanging, a 5 judge bench of the Supreme Court dismissed the curative petition. The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, too, rejected his mercy plea the same day.
On the other hand, Akshay Thakur has filed for a new mercy petition to the President after his initial mercy plea rejected on the 5th February. The new mercy plea, filed on 29th February, claimed that according to Akshay Thakur some of the facts were missed the last time. The latest death warrant for the execution on the 3rd of Mar 2020 at 6:00 AM had been issued by Additional Session Judge Dharmendra Rana. There has been so many twists and turns in this case that we can only pray that there is no further delay.
The date of execution of the 4 convicts was delayed yet another time.
On the 5th March 2020, the Patiala house court issued another death warrant for the execution of the 4 convicts in the Nirbhaya Gang Rape and Murder case. The court said that they will be hanged on the 20th March 2020 at 5:30 AM (IST).
Mukesh Singh’s another plea seeking restoration his rights to file curative petition and mercy plea again was rejected by the Supreme Cour of India on the 16th March 2020. However, on the 17th March, 2020, Mukesh Singh filed another plea seeking quashing of his death penalty as he claims that he was not in Delhi at the time of the crime.
A Delhi Court, on 17th itself, dismissed Mukesh Singh’s Plea.
On 18th the 4 convicts filed a plea in the court asking to quash their death penalty, however, on the 19th March, the Delhi Patiala House Court refused to put stay on the death warrant.
The President, also on the 19th March, rejected the second mercy plea filed by Pawan Gupta.
The advocate of the 4 convicts asked the court to use them for medical trials, or send them to the border with Pakistan and China “but don’t hang them”.
The Supreme Court, on the other hand, on the same day rejected the plea submitted by Akshay Singh challenging the rejection of his mercy plea by the President of India.
In the last attempt to save the convicts in the Nirbhaya Gang Rape and Murder Case, their advocate A P Singh filed a petition in the Delhi High Court where said that “Your contentions have been rejected by the Supreme Court. Can we set aside the Supreme Court’s judgement? There will be chaos” as the court dismissed his petition.
Finally, as all the 4 convicts have exhausted all their legal courses, after 7 years 3 months and 4 days or, 2651 days, Nirbhaya and her family received the justice they deserved. Let justice be served. Let us all come together and request the Supreme Court of India to come up with Laws where justice come early and the victims and their families do not go through such trauma.