Supreme Court upholds death sentence in Nirbhaya rape case

The Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for the four adults convicted in the infamous ‘Nirbhaya’ rape case of Delhi.

A three-judge bench said the act falls ‘beyond any doubt’ in the ‘rarest of rare’ cases that is suitable for death penalty. There were two judgements between the three judges, both of which agreed on dismissing the appeal for a review of the lower court’s judgement.

“This is a crime which has shocked the collective consciousness of the society,” the order said.

The circumstances are too harsh for any mercy to be shown. The defence had asked for mercy on the basis of the ‘poor’ background of the assailants. It was also argued that hanging them would deprive their families of their means of livelihood.

It noted that the assailants even tried to run over the victim using their bus.

The victim’s mother, who was present in the court room, was among those who clapped when the order was read out, said eyewitnesses.

The four accused are Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, Mukesh Singh and Akshay Thakur. Another accused, who was not yet 18 at the time of the incident, was spared the death sentence by the trial court owing to his age.

The victim was a 23-year-old woman who was returning home on the night of 16 December 2012 after watching the film Life of Pi in Saket, South Delhi.

They boarded an off-duty charter bus at Munirka for Dwarka that was being driven by joyriders at about 9:30 pm.

There were only six others on the bus, including the driver.

One of the men, a minor, had called for passengers telling them that the bus was going towards their destination.

The friend was beaten, gagged and knocked unconscious with an iron rod.

The men then dragged the girl to the rear of the bus, beating her with the rod and raping her while the bus driver continued to drive. Medical reports later said that she suffered serious injuries to her abdomen, intestines and genitals due to the assault, and doctors said that the damage indicated that a blunt object (suspected to be the iron rod) may have been used for penetration.

According to police reports Jyoti attempted to fight off her assailants, biting three of the attackers and leaving bite marks on the accused men. After the beatings and rape ended, the attackers threw both victims from the moving bus. Then the bus driver allegedly tried to drive the bus over Jyoti, but she was pulled aside by her male friend.

The partially clothed victims were found on the road by a passerby at around 11 pm. The passerby called the Delhi Police, who took the couple to Safdarjung Hospital.