The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the death sentence for all four convicts in connection with the 2012 Delhi gangrape case. Six men had raped and brutally assaulted a 23-year-old student in Delhi in December 2012. “It is a victory for my family, I am very happy with the judgment,” her father said.
The bench in its verdict said it was taking into consideration the serious injuries and the severe nature of the offence committed by the convicts, ANI reported. “It is a barbaric incident,” the Supreme Court said. Justice Bhanumati, one of the judges on the bench that passed the order, said a system should be set in place to educate children on how to respect women.
Akshay, Vinay Sharma, Pawan and Mukesh had moved the apex court challenging the death sentence the Delhi High Court had given them. On March 27, 2017, the top court had reserved its judgment on their appeal.
“The court must sentence them to death,” Singh’s mother had told Hindustan Times before the judgment. “We won’t settle for life imprisonment. I am alive and kept myself strong only to see this day.”
Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi said she was happy with the Supreme Court verdict. “Though I wish it had come sooner,” she told ANI. AP Singh, who represented the convicts in the court, dismissed the verdict. “No one should be sentenced to death just to send out a message to the society. Human rights have been annihilated,” he said.
The convicts’ hearing in the Supreme Court had begun on April 4, 2016, almost two years after a stay order was issued against their execution. Two of the convicts had sought a change in their defence counsel as they alleged that the lawyers had spoken against them to the media. They had requested Justice TS Thakur, who was the chief justice of India at that point, and Justice Deepak Misra to intervene in their favour.
A trial court had ordered death sentences for the convicts in September 2013, which was upheld by the Delhi High Court six months later. However, the Supreme Court had issued a stay order on the sentence after the convicts appealed against it.
Six individuals, including a juvenile, had brutally raped the 23-year-old woman in a moving bus in Delhi on December 16, 2012. The victim had succumbed to her injuries on December 29 the same year at a hospital in Singapore. The minor accused was released in December 2015 after serving three years in a detention home for juveniles, while one convict died in prison.
The incident had triggered country-wide protests and demands to ensure better safety for women in India. The outrage had forced the government to introduce new laws on rape.
The chronology of events:
December 16, 2012: Six men rape Jyoti Singh and assault her friend on a bus in New Delhi.
December 18-22: The accused are identified and arrested, one of them is identified as a minor.
December 29: Singh dies in a hospital in Singapore while thousands protest around the country.
March 11: One of the accused, Ram Singh, commits suicide in jail.
August 31, 2013: The minor accused is convicted by the Juvenile Justice Board and sentenced to three years in a remand home.
September 10, 2013: The four adult accused are found guilty of rape and murder, among other charges, and are sentenced to death by a trial court.
March 13, 2014: The Delhi High Court upholds the death sentences.
May 5, 2017: The Supreme Court upholds the death sentences.