Exactly four years, four months and 18 days after a brutal gang-rape and murder on the streets of the Capital shook the nation’s conscience, the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty awarded to the four convicts in the December 16, 2012, incident.
The case, in the aftermath of which millions of young Indians thronged Delhi’s streets reclaiming a safe city for the women, forced the government to make strict and punitive laws against women harassment and brought the issue of women’s safety to the centre stage.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice R Banumathi and Justice Ashok Bhushan reserved the order after hearing arguments on behalf of the convicts Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta. The counsel appearing for the two told the bench that police had implicated “innocent” persons when they failed to arrest the real culprits. He said the death penalty is not the solution and goes against the principle of non-violence.
The counsel defended the convicts, saying they were not habitual offenders and have no criminal history. Even the habitual offenders had reformed earlier, he added. The top court by it’s 5 May 2017 verdict upheld the death sentence of Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur.
It had earlier reserved its verdict on the review petition filed by Mukesh. Akshay has not filed a review petition yet.
The four were convicted of raping and assaulting a 23-year-old paramedical student inside a moving bus on December 16, 2012, which led to her death due to internal injuries 13 days later in a Singapore hospital. The rapists, six in all, pounced on the young woman who had boarded the bus with her male friend to go home after watching a movie.
After committing the crime, they dumped both on a roadside. Some passersby alerted the police. The sheer brutality of the crime led to nationwide revulsion and street protests.
A fifth accused, Ram Singh, committed suicide in the Tihar Central Jail here. The sixth, a minor, accused of ripping apart the woman’s intestines, was sent to a correction home and has been released after serving his probation period. The Supreme Court on Friday reserved its order on the plea of two of the four death row convicts seeking a review of the top court 2017 judgment upholding their death sentence in the 16 December Delhi gang rape case which shook the nation.