(Nirbhaya gangrape convicts L-R Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur, Mukesh Singh)
NEW DELHI: The Tihar jail has instructed the convicts of the gruesome Nirbhaya rape and murder case of 2012 to either file a mercy plea before the President of India or to face their sentence. 7 years have gone by since the ghastly crime which shook the fabric of the Indian civil society.
On the night of December 16th, Jyoti and her friend Awindra boarded the bus said to be heading towards Dwarka from Munirka in South Delhi. The duo was then confined, beaten, and tortured, while Jyoti was violently raped with unimaginable injuries to her internal organs due to the monstrosity and savage attack.
Both were then thrown from the moving bus naked in the streets of Mahipalpur in South Delhi. Jyoti now eulogized and commemorated as “Nirbhaya” passed away two weeks after the attack, while Awindra sustained recoverable injuries.
6 of them were convicted for their crimes. One juvenile Mohammad Afroz was released back in 2013 after serving a maximum of 3 years in a child reformation center.
Although the police wanted a bone ossification test done to determine his real age which was declared as 17 years and 6 months in his birth certificate during the time of the investigations following the crime. It was denied by the Juvenile Justice Board.
(Convict Ram Singh committed suicide during imprisonment in 2013)
Ram Singh the other convict in the case committed suicide in his cell by hanging, although his father alleges that he was murdered.
Four convicts, in this case, Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, and Akshay Thakur now face certain death for their grotesque crime toward 23-year-old medical student Jyoti Singh and Awindra Pratap Pandey.
The convicts were given the death penalty by the district court of Saket in Delhi under a single bench of Justice Yogesh Khanna. The lawyers defending the case had asked for a lesser sentence but Justice Khanna denied the pleas stating that it “shocked the collective conscience of India”.
The verdict was appealed by the lawyers who were defending the convicts but in 2014 the Delhi High Court upheld the verdict of the lower court and found them guilty of rape, murder, unnatural offenses and destruction of evidence.
They were also charged with various other offenses relating to robbery and wrongful confinement of Ram Adhar a local carpenter in the area and sentenced to an additional 10 years imprisonment. The High Court in its verdict stated that the case fell in the “rarest of the rare” category which allows capital punishment”
The verdict which was further challenged was upheld by the Supreme Court of India back in 2017 where the court stated it was a “barbaric crime that had shaken society’s conscience”.
It is highly unlikely that the President of India will grant the mercy petition which is the last resort for the convicts who are currently serving the 10-year imprisonment for robbery and wrongful confinement.
The Tihar jail authorities had informed the convicts through a notice dated 29th October that all legal remedies in the case were exhausted and that ” it is hereby informed that, in case, you have not yet filed the mercy petition and if you wish to file it you can file it within seven days of the receipt of this notice, through prison authorities, failing which it will be presumed that you are not willing to file mercy petition and the jail administration will initiate further necessary legal proceedings as per law”.
The Nirbhaya case which was one of the most gruesome cases in the capital city received national and international attention due to the brutality of the crime. It sparked widespread nationwide protests and international condemnation for the lack of security of women in India.
It brought changes into the legal system with stringent punishment for crimes and violence against women. Nirbhaya was commemorated for enduring an unimaginable ordeal, and her case provided for additional measures by the Government of India to ensure the protection of women.
(Inputs and Picture Credit: ANI, and Neha Vashishth India Today)