The Supreme Court on Friday confirmed the death sentence awarded to the four convicts in the December 16, 2012 sensational gangrape and murder case, saying it had sent a “tsunami of shock” all over and was a ‘rarest of rare’ case in which the most brutal, barbaric and diabolical attack was carried out on the 23-year-old woman
The apex court said the convicts had treated the victim as an object of enjoyment, with the single purpose of ravishing her
A three-judge bench, through a unanimous verdict, upheld the Delhi High Court judgement which had concurred with the trial court decision
Those who will face the gallows are Mukesh (29), Pawan (22), Vinay Sharma (23) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31)
One of the accused, Ram Singh, had allegedly committed suicide in the Tihar Jail, while a convicted juvenile was sentenced three years of punishment in a reform home
In its judgement, the bench noted every gory detail which the victim suffered at their hands, like after she was gangraped, the convicts had inserted an iron rod in her private parts, threw her from the bus along with her friend and tried to run them over
The court termed the incident as “most brutal, barbaric and diabolical attack” on the victim
The judgement was prononuced by a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan which had reserved the verdict on March 27 after a marathon hearing
Justice Misra wrote the judgement for himself and Justice Bhushan, while Justice Banumathi wrote a separate but concurring verdict.
The apex court said the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances like the poor family background, young age of accused, good conduct in prison, marital status, small kids etc
Justice Misra, who read the operative portion of the judgement, said the offence created a “tsunami of shock”
The judgement was widely hailed but since it came only a day after Bombay High Court refused to award death penalties to the convicts in Bilkis Bano’s gangrape case, many were forced to detect a tinge of irony in how the Indian judicial system applies selective treatment to different victims of the same crime.
Bilkis was gangraped in 2002 during the Gujarat’s anti-Muslim genocide, had her 2-year-old baby brutally murdered along with 14 other family members. But, the High Court had astonishingly declared that this crime did not fall under the ‘rarest of the rare’ category.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Nirbhaya rape case has, therefore, left many shocked. Even Justice Markandey Katju, a former Supreme Court justice, felt that the Bilkis Bani case had fallen under the category of ‘rarest of the rare crime.’
The CPI-M’s Brinda Karat too justified the death penalty but questioned the double-standard of the Indian judiciary, which had refused to give death penalty to the convicts of Bilkis Bano gangrape case.
She said, “In principle I am against death penalty, but this was such a heinous crime that strictest punishment was needed. Selective nature of the judicial process of our country is why I am against death penalty. What happened in Bilkis Bano case?”
Journalists, politicians, lawyers and members of civil society were quick to highlight the selective application of the death penalty.
Here is how they reacted.
Why Bilkis Bano gang rape not fit for death but Delhi rape case is?: suggests much about India, media, legal system, & death penalty itself.
— Rohit (@Retributions) May 5, 2017
Finally justice given in Nirbhaya case.Wat abt Bilkis Bano?We shd fight 4 harshest punishment 4 those beasts who raped her&killed her child
— Sharmistha Mukherjee (@Sharmistha_GK) May 5, 2017
— Gaurav Pandhi गौरव पांधी (@GauravPandhi) May 5, 2017
Why is #BilkisBano not in the rarest of rare categories. Saw her 3 yr old daughter bludgeoned & was gang raped?
— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) May 5, 2017
— कोमल 🙂 ?? (@Komal_Indian) May 5, 2017
— richa anirudh (@richaanirudh) May 5, 2017
A desire for death penalty & justice for #Nirbhaya do u also agree on death penalty for those who gangraped Bilkis Bano & killed her child?
— Tehseen Poonawalla (@tehseenp) May 5, 2017
Some are "more equal" before the law than the rest https://t.co/k0etm3sEzC
— Whirling Dervesh (شاہین نقشبندی) (@WhirlingDervesh) May 5, 2017
Bilkis Bano case fell within the category of 'rarest of the rare' cases and the guilty deserved the death sentence.
— Markandey Katju (@mkatju) May 5, 2017
Nirbhaya killers given death sentence. Those who Gangraped Bilkis Bano, killed her child, given life. Law is supreme. Or is it an ass?!
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) May 5, 2017
— Rifat Jawaid (@RifatJawaid) May 5, 2017