Nirbhaya Rape Case Verdict: SC To Pronounce Judgement On Review Pleas

The Supreme Court will today pronounce the judgement on the review pleas of three out of the four convicts standing on the death row in the ‘Nirbhaya’ gang rape and murder case, 2012.

The court bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan will deliver their judgement on the review pleas of 29-year-old Mukesh, 22-year-old Pawan Gupta and 23-year-old Vinay Sharma.

The four death row convict, Akshay Kumar Singh (31), has not filed a review petition against the apex court’s May 5, 2017 judgement. The apex court in its 2017 verdict had upheld the capital punishment awarded to them by the Delhi High Court and the trial court in the case of gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedic student on December 16, 2012.

Timeline of Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case:

December 16, 2012: 23-year-old paramedic student is gangraped and killed by six men in the national capital. She was returning with her friend from Delhi’s Saket area after watching a movie.

December 17, 2013: Delhi Police identify four men who raped and assaulted her — bus driver Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh, Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta. Doctors say the woman has suffered grave internal injuries.

December 18, 2013: Ram Singh and three others are arrested.

December 29, 2012: The victim succubs to her injuries at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

December 21, 2012: The accused juvenile is arrested from Anand Vihar bus terminal in Delhi. The woman’s friend identifies Mukesh as one of the culprits. Police conduct raids in Haryana and Bihar to nab the sixth accused, Akshay Thakur.

December 22, 2012: Akshay Thakur is arrested in Bihar and brought to Delhi. Victim records her statement before the SDM in hospital.

January 2, 2013: The then Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir inaugurates fast track court for speedy trial in sexual offence cases.

January 3, 2013: Police files charge-sheet against five adult accused for offences including murder, gang rape, attempt to murder, kidnapping, unnatural offences and dacoity.

February 28, 2013: Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) frames rape, murder charges against the juvenile accused.

March 11, 2013: Bus driver Ram Singh is found hanging in his cell in Tihar jail.

August 31, 2013: JJB convicts the juvenile for gang rape and murder and awards three years term at a probation home.

September 13, 2013: Fast track court awards death to all four convicts. Trial court refers the case to Delhi High Court for confirmation of death sentence.

March 13, 2014: The Delhi High Court justices Reva Khetrapal and Pratibha Rani uphold the death sentences awarded to the four convicts.

December 18, 2015: Delhi High Court refuses to stay the release of the juvenile. He walks out of a correction home after spending three years.

April 3, 2016: Supreme Court begins hearing in the case.

April 8, 2016: Senior advocates Raju Ramchandran and Sanjay Hegde appointed amicus curiae.

May 5, 2016: SC upholds death penalty of four accused – Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Singh.

November 7, 2016: Advocate Raju Ramchandran argues for sentencing order to be set aside.

November 28, 2016: Advocate Sanjay Hegde argues against reliability of evidence in the case.

February 3, 2017: Supreme Court decides to rehear the case on the sentencing aspect, after the petitioners contend that there has been violation in procedure.

March 6, 2017: All the accused submit additional affidavits in court.

March 27, 2017: The SC reserves verdict after nearly a year of hearing the case.

May 5, 2017: The Supreme Court pronounces judgement in the case upholding the death sentence of all 4 accused.

November 13, 2017: The convicts appeal to the Supreme Court to review their sentence claiming that it was cold-blooded killing in the name of justice.

May 4, 2018: Supreme Court upholds the order on the plea of two convicts seeking a review of its 2017 verdict upholding the death penalty awarded to them.

July 9, 2018: The Supreme Court will today pronounce its verdict on the review pleas of three of the four convicts awarded the death in the Nirbhaya gangrape case.

What role did the juvenile play in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case?

The most brutal of all the offenders in the Nirbhaya case was the juvenile who served three years in a remand home after walking out freely from the probation home. As per a PTI report in 2017, the juvenile now has a new name and is working as a cook in a local eatery in Delhi. Reports say that the juvenile had worked for Ram Singh for some time and the latter owed him Rs 8000. The boy was consistently asking for his money back. That fateful night, he had gone there to collect his money and became a part of the crime.

What happened to the juvenile before the Juvenile Justice Act in 2015?

January 28, 2013: Juvenile Justice Board rules that sixth accused is a minor.

February 28, 2013: Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) frames rape, murder charges against the juvenile accused.

July 5, 2013: Trial against juvenile concludes, the Juvenile Justice Board reserves verdict for July 11.

July 11, 2013: The JJB holds the minor guilty of illegally confining and robbing a carpenter on December 16 night before the gang rape. It defers to July 25 its verdict in the gang-rape case.

July 25, 2013: JJB defers to August 5 its verdict after a PIL is filed in the Supreme Court seeking fresh interpretation of the term “juvenile”.

August 19, 2013: JJB again defers verdict to August 31.

August 22, 2013: Supreme Court allows JJB to pronounce verdict in gang rape case.

August 31, 2013: JJB convicts the juvenile for gang rape and murder and awards three years term at a probation home.

What is Juvenile Justice Act passed in 2015?

 The Juvenile Justice Act was passed in by then-President Pranab Mukherjee’s on December 31, 2015. It was enforced on January 15, 2016. This law allows children aged 16 to 18 years and in conflict with law to be tried as adults in cases of heinous offences. The bill was introduced in Parliament after public outrage in the Nirbhaya gangrape case as the juvenile involved in the heinous crime was a few months short of 18 years of age.