The much awaited verdict of the Nirbhaya gang rape case will be given by the bench of Supreme Court comprising of Justice Dipak Misra and Justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan. The verdict will be delivered today at 2pm as per the cause list. The fate of the four accused who shook the nation’s conscience will be decided today. However, in the same matter Justice Dipak Mishra and Justice R Banumathi will deliver separate judgements.
It was on December 16th 2012, when a 23 year old girl, physiotherapy intern was gang raped and brutally assaulted on her private part in a moving bus. Her friend was beaten black and blue with an iron rod. After the horrible act they threw both them out of the bus. They lay bleeding on the roads for the next 40 minutes before police arrived, the information was received by them through a passerby. The bus was cleaned after the incidence to destroy the evidence. The police discovered the iron rod using which she was assaulted. Due to extremely critical condition she was shifted to Singapore for better treatment. She struggled for her life and died. On December 19th, 2012 her friend testified in the Court. His statement was recorded by the sub-divisional magistrate in presence of Deputy Commissioner of Police.
On 11th March one of the accused Ram Singh was found hanging from the ventilator shaft. On August 31st, 2013 one of the accused was a juvenile who was tried by the Juvenile Justice Board, where he was awarded 3 years imprisonment to special home. Rest of them were charged with rape, murder, destroying evidence, kidnapping and attempt of murder. They were tried in a fast track court which sentenced them to death.
On March 13th, 2014 the Delhi High Court confirmed the death sentence. On March 1st, 2014 Supreme Court stayed the execution of two of the four convicts on their allegation that a fair trial was not observed. On April 3rd, 2016 Supreme Court hears the case followed by the appointment of Senior Advocate Raju Ramachandran and Sanjay Hegde Amicus Curae. There were allegation that the evidence was tapered. Senior Advocate Raju Ramachandran and Amicus Curae requests to set aside the order because the provisions of the Cr.P.C was not followed as well as the tests prescribed the Supreme Court while awarding death sentence which was not considered by the Trial Court and the Delhi High Court. Senior Advocate Sanjay Hedge and Amicus Curae argues against reliability of evidence in the case. He argued that there is no evidence to prove conspiracy. It was submitted to the Court, “In the present case, insofar as the lack of planning or premeditation regarding the crime is concerned, it can be said that the accused did not plan the offence in detail or carry out the plan in a calculated manner which signifies the absence of social predisposition or hardened criminality. While there is no doubt that the manner of the commission of the crime was brutal, it is premeditation and planning which determines the disposition of the accused, and the lack of pre-mediation or reflection on the actions of the accused should be considered in determining the possibility of reform of the accused.”
On February 3rd, 2017 Supreme Court decides to rehear the case on sentencing aspect due to contention by the petitioners that there has been violations in the procedure. The Supreme Court reserved the verdict on March 27th, 2017.
Compiled by – Snigdha Panigrahi