FACTS OF THE CASE
The gang rape victim of the infamous 16 December 2012 Delhi incident went under the alias “Nirbhaya.” Nirbhaya and her companion were waiting for a bus after leaving a movie theatre on another frigid December night in Delhi. One of the potential offenders persuaded them to board a vacant bus with tinted windows. Six individuals, one of whom was a 17-year-old juvenile, assaulted them. When the friend attempted to defend Nirbhaya, the attackers beat him severely. Nirbhaya’s body was horrifically disfigured in addition to being assaulted sexually. Her intestines were removed, and her private areas were damaged. Later, multiple organ failure, internal haemorrhage, and cardiac arrest claimed her life on 29th December.
Judgement by trial court
Pursuant to Section 302 Indian Penal Code, the convicts were sentenced to death. The convicts were supposed to be hung by the neck until they were dead. The sentences had to run simultaneously as given in accordance with sections 120B, 365, 366, 376(2)(g), 377, 307, 201, 395, 397 and 412 of the IPC.
It had been advised that benefits should be provided wherever appropriate under Section 428 Cr.P.C. The court further recommended that appropriate compensation should be granted to the legal heir of the prosecutor pursuant to Section 357-A Cr.P.C. and therefore a copy of this order was sent to the Secretary, Delhi Legal Service Authority for the determination of the amount of compensation to be granted pursuant to the system referred to in section 357-A Cr.P.C.
Pursuant to Article 115 of the Limitation Act, 1963, the convicts were notified that they might lodge an appeal against the judgment and order on a sentence within 30 days. Attested copies of the judgment, order on sentence, copy of the charge, evidence and statement according to Section 313 Cr.P.C and displayed documents would be provided free of charge to the convicts.
The exhibits had been said to be retained by the Hon’ble High Court before the death penalty was confirmed. The reference to the death penalty had been sent to Hon’ble Delhi High Court for approval of the very same. The file had been compiled in compliance with Rule 34 of Chapter 24 part B Vol. III of Delhi High Court Rules and submitted to Hon’ble High Court in compliance with the Rules.
High Court’s view
The offense in the present case has unquestionably been done in a very diabolical, demoniac, and sinister manner. According to the High Court which deemed it to be the rarest of the rare cases. Additionally, how the crime was done shows extraordinary licentiousness and perversion of the highest kind, and the context, mode of execution, and motivation behind the act speak eloquently about the premeditated and callous nature of the offense.
Continuation of petition and case Judgement by the Supreme Court:
The word “review” in legal jargon denotes a judicial examination of the matter. As a result, a review clause was established under Section 114 of the 1908 Code of Civil Procedure to correct an error and prevent a serious miscarriage of justice. According to Article 137 of the Indian Constitution, the Supreme Court is permitted to review any judgment or decision it has rendered, but this is constrained by the norms and laws created under Article 145. If any party to a particular case feels wronged by the Court’s ruling, it may submit a petition for review after adhering to the correct legal procedures. It must be kept in mind that the petition for review may be extremely important in situations where an appeal is not sought or is not permitted. Mukesh Singh has submitted a curative appeal to the Supreme Court. The next petitioner was Vinay Kumar Singh, who had similarly filed a request for a remedy. The President was then asked for mercy by the prisoner Mukesh Singh. The curative petitions brought by Mukesh Singh and Vinay Sharma were dismissed by the Supreme Court. Mukesh Singh then filed an appeal with the Delhi High Court to have the trial court’s death warrant annulled. Due to an ongoing petition for mercy, he also went to a Delhi court to ask for a stay of execution. Mukesh Singh’s appeal for sympathy was later turned down by President Ram Nath Kovind. New death warrants were issued by the Delhi court around six in the morning on February 1st, 2020. In his Special Leave Petition, Pawan Gupta informed the Supreme Court that he was a minor at the time of the offense. The SLP filed by Pawan Gupta was denied by the Supreme Court. Mukesh Singh filed to the Supreme Court to challenge the request for a refusal of compassion after receiving numerous rejections that did not satisfy him. Akshay Kumar Singh, on the other hand, submitted a curative plea to the SC. Mukesh Singh’s appeal challenging the denial of the petition for compassion was denied by the Supreme Court. Akshay Kumar, a prisoner, petitioned the Supreme Court for a remedy. Additionally, Vinay Sharma presented a mercy appeal to President Ram Nath Kovind. The execution of the death warrant was once more put off by the Delhi court. Vinay Sharma requested mercy, but the President turned him down. Akshay Kumar Singh petitioned the President for clemency. In defiance of the trial court’s ruling, the Center petitioned the High Court. The High Court dismissed the Center’s appeal against the trial court’s order mandating that all four offenders be hanged concurrently. The Delhi court denied the inmates’ request for a new execution date. Vinay Sharma appealed the Supreme Court’s decision to reject his request for compassion in a writ petition. Vinay Sharma’s appeal challenging the denial of his mercy petition was denied by the Supreme Court. The four Nirbhaya’ gang rape convict’s death warrants were published by the Delhi court. The petitioner cannot claim that they were treated unfairly as a result of the inability to provide a copy of the documents, the court said. In Shatrughan Chauhan and Anr v. Union of India & Ors, it was decided that commuted death sentences are constitutional obligations rather than acts of favor or grace. Before the Supreme Court, Pawan Gupta filed a curative appeal to have his death sentence reduced to life in prison. To have their sentences reduced to life in prison, all four convicted criminals filed applications with the Supreme Court. The top court, however, rejected their appeals, thus the guys were left without any further legal options. Hours before the executions, an appeal to commute the death penalty was also rejected. The Supreme Court denied Mukesh Singh’s request for a probe because he was not in Delhi when the Nirbhaya gang was kidnapped and killed. A lower court had previously rejected his appeal. The 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case resulted in the execution of all four death row inmates on March 20, 2020, at 5.30 am in Tihar prison.
RATIO DECIDENDI OF THE CASE:
The ruling upheld the constitutionality of the death sentences would be accorded only in the rarest of rare cases. This phrase has its genesis in the 1983 Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Macchi Singh vs. the State of Punjab. In that the court attempted to establish standards for determining when a crime fell into this category. The bench debated and formalized principles for identifying the rarest of rare circumstances where the death penalty should be imposed.
Results of protests in different states
- A 24/7 dedicated helpline (1091) has been launched by the Karnataka government to assist women in reporting any sort of sexual abuse.
- The creation of fast-track courts to resolve ongoing cases and offer victims instant legal assistance.
- A 13-point action plan was also unveiled by the Tamil Nadu government to guarantee the protection of women there.
- The State’s rules against sexual offenses will be changed, according to the Jammu and Kashmir governments, as violence against women has increased recently.
India is well-recognized for several things. The country’s culture, religious diversity, cricket skills, and stunning natural beauty are its favorable traits. However, a few unfortunate events frequently occur that cause these advantageous aspects to be overlooked by the public both abroad and even at home. The Nirbhaya event served as the spark that lit the fire of unfavorable public perception of India. Although our government has taken attempts to improve the situation since the Nirbhaya rape case, where a woman was brutally raped simply because she was out late at night and enjoying her freedom and life with her male friend, it has not significantly aided the women. The intensity of the female demonstrations peaked at some point. But with time, it started to lose its lustre and eventually vanished. However, the Nirbhaya rape case, which is regarded as the most horrifying incidence of a crime against a woman in India’s history, continues to have an impact on the country’s people.
Author(s) Name: Abhivyakti Parashar (Symbiosis Law School, Pune)