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NIRBHAYA VERDICT




ABSTRACT:


India was once called as a land of golden birds, but now it has lost its glory to male chauvinism and most importantly into a women’s nightmare. The most disturbing situation arises in areas were female are often exploited or molested yet most of these incidents goes unreported or lost. “Nirbhaya” is a name given to the gang rape case which was happened in the night of 16 December 2012. The name Nirbhaya is used because the Indian rape law does not allow to use the victim’s name in the media. Hence they used name Nirbhaya which means “fearless”. This case caused a huge impact on the society and people started to protest and they all wanted to hang the rapist. The Nirbhaya case have received international attention from worldwide media, but India apparently took no lessons even after such shamefulness. The justice is been delayed but not denied due to delay in speedy justice, loss of evidence. Even today the accused continue to rot in the jail, waiting for their death sentence. Given the justice dispensation scenario of India, the ultimate consequences of this case might take a really long time. Meanwhile, such gruesome incidents continue to occur and rattle the nation. To the utter dismay and trauma of women in India, rapes still happen and even go unreported. The Nirbhaya case was a wake-up call to not just the nation’s police administration but also to the society, something both of them refused to respond to.



NIRBHAYA VERDICT


Nirbhaya case is a turning point for the country in developing progressive laws for women and played an important role in administering justice to Jyoti Singh. A 23year old female physiotherapy intern Jyoti Singh was gang raped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of December 16-17,2012 in a private bus in which she was travelling with her friend, Awindra Pratap Pandey. There were six others in the bus including the driver, one of whom was a minor, aged 17. As she fought back, one of attackers who is a juvenile, inserted a rusted, L-shaped rod with a wheel jack into her private parts, pulling and ripping her intestines. Jyoti could not survive the horror of the night. However, this incident became the rage of entire nation. This incident spread like a wildfire across the country. On December 17,2012, youth and old started to protest through slogans, candle marches, media etc. Now the burden has been dumped on Government of India who has the fundamental duty to answer the public protest. On the very same date, Police identifies the accused – bus driver Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh Kumar, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur and Pawan Gupta. On 18th December ,2012 Ram Singh and three others were arrested. Further on December 25th, her condition became critical. On December 29th Jyoti Singh died in Singapore. The chief justice of India inaugurates fast track court for speedy trial. Police files a charge sheet against five accused under section 376D, 307, 363 of Indian penal code[1]and then the court starts its proceeding against the accused. One of the accused, Ram Singh committed suicide in Tihar jail on march 11, 2013.


Juvenile Justice Board convicts the minor and awards three years term at probation home. The remaining four accused was sentenced to death by additional sessions judge Yogesh Khanna. After that he rejected the pleas in 2015 for a lesser sentence saying that the case has shocked the conscience of India. Delhi high court upholds the trial court verdict. Later, the Delhi high court refuses to release the minor accused, who walks free after three years. After 19 months of being in cold storage, Supreme Court begins to hear the case. Justices Dipak Mishra, V. Gopala Gowda and Kurian Joseph hears the case. The Supreme Court further seeks mitigating circumstances from the accused. The petitioners contented that there have been violations in the procedure and therefore the Supreme Court decides to re-hear the case on sentencing aspect. The supreme court reserves verdict after a year of hearing the case and they uphold Delhi high court’s verdict.


The Supreme Court rejects the review pleas of three convicts who was awarded death penalty. It was rejected because under Supreme Court Rules, 1966 such a REVIEW PETITION needs to be filed within 30 days from the date of judgement or order. The Delhi government seeks death warrant for the execution on death sentence and directs Tihar authorities to issue notice to convicts for legal remedy. Pawan Kumar Gupta files a plea stating that he was a juvenile at the time of offence and there after the plea was dismissed. After the dismissal of review petition, the Supreme court of India rejected the curative petition. Akshay has further said that death penalty entails “cold blooded killing” and does not provide convicts the chance to reform themselves. The plea referred to the moral reasons for abolition of the death penalty and said there was no evidence to show that such a punishment has got a deterrent value. After exhausting the remedy of filing pleas, the convicts can send their MERCY PLEA to the President. SG Tushar Mehta questioned convict’s lawyer who asked for 3-week time to file mercy petition before President Mehta told the apex court that one-week time is prescribed under law for filing mercy petition before President. They also dismissed the mercy petition mainly because Nirbhaya case is one of the most high-profile cases and the whole country is asking for the death petition of the convicts.


There are a few different types of rape, yet they all have the same effects on the victims. Following Nirbhaya case, similar incident which took place in 2013 was SHAKTHI MILL GANG RAPE CASE [2] in which five adult accused were convicted, for the other two accused one was awarded life imprisonment, while the other turned approver in this case. Two minors were tried by juvenile justice board separately. In the case of PARHLAD AND OTHERS V STATE OF HARYANA[3], the court called an offence of rape as basically an assault on the human rights of the victim. It was seen as an attack on the individuality and physical sovereignty of a woman. It is important to note that according to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, only a man can commit rape, and only on a woman. In HYDERABAD GANG RAPE CASE[4]which happened in November 2019, the gang rape and murder of a 26-year-old sparked outrage across India. Her body was found in Shad Nagar on 28 November 2019, the day after she was murdered. Four suspects were arrested and, according to the Cyberabad Metropolitan Police, confessed to having raped and killed the doctor. The Telangana Police Department stated that the victim had parked her scooter near a toll plaza, which caught the attention of two lorry drivers and their assistants. According to police, they  deflated the tire, pretended to help her, and pushed her into nearby bushes, where they raped and smothered her. Then they allegedly loaded her corpse onto a lorry and dropped it on the roadside.


The police arrested four men based on the evidence gathered from CCTV cameras and from the victim’s mobile phone. The accused were taken into judicial custody. The Telangana Chief Minister ordered the formation of a fast-track court to try the accused for their alleged crimes. The rape and murder elicited outrage in several parts of the country. Protests and public demonstration against rape were organised nationwide after the incident, with the public demanding stricter laws against rape and rapists. The Minister of Home Affairs criticised the Telangana Police and stated that the government intended to amend the Indian Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure to introduce laws for quicker punishment by fast-track courts. All four accused were killed in a police encounter on 6 December 2019, under a bridge on Bangalore Hyderabad national highway, while they were in police custody.


Generally, women often suffer from health issues and reproductive problems after the rape and mental instability continues even after the rape is over. It is really a curse for a woman she is raped. The effects of rape can also include both, the physical trauma as well as psychological stress. Women do not even complaint about it because they think it is shameful for them and their family also. It ruins their life and makes them restless for the rest of their lives. They usually lose their interest in working system of our country and they eventually do not even think about justice because it is just a word for them. Rape is one of the social problems and the victims suffer from physical, mental and emotional consequence and various other traumas which ruins their life.


There is lot of social outrage due to the gruesome incident. This was the spark which ignited the fire of public outrage. But sadly, the fire was short lived. The public outrage died in few months and women’s issues too their usual place in the daily agenda. The outrage was not restricted to India, the whole world had formed an opinion. A majority of outrage poured out on social media. Organisation like ALL INDIA PROGESSIVE WOMEN’S ASSOCITAION (AIPWA) also made its opinion. Feminist and women’s movements gained momentum. Not just social, there where legal consequences of the incident too. The government at the centre and various states announced several progressive steps to ensure safety of women in the country. Also setting up of fast track courts to dispose pending cases and to provide legal aid to the victim. Also, they announced a 13-point action plan to ensure safety.


Until 2012, the definition of rape was restricted just to sexual intercourse. The CRIMINAL LAW (AMENDMENT ACT, 2013) gave a broader meaning to the term rape which defined as any involuntary and forceful penetration without the women’s consent. Nirbhaya incident and the JUSTICE VERMA COMMITTEE REPORT were the two developments which had a major impact on the amendment. The committee was made after this case to provide speedy trail and enhance punishment who are accused of committing sexual offence against women. According to the committee, rape should be treated as a separate offence and its scope should be widened. Any other non-consensual penetration whose nature is sexual should be included in the definition of rape. also, u se of words or any act or any form of gesture that creates a threat of sexual nature and should be termed as sexual assault and should be punished for the same. They made recommendation on SEXUAL HARESSMENT OF WOMEN AT WORK PLACE BILL,2012.


As a reaction to of public outrage and reaction, the Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram allocated money for tackling women’s issues. He announced the “NIRBHAYA FUND “in Parliament on his budget speech 2013-14. The initial amount allocated was whopping amount of INR 1000 crores. Further there had been proposals to put GPS trackers in trains, buses, and other public transports but this has not implemented on a large scale.

Few amendments were made in CRIMINAL LAW AMENDMENT ACT, 2013 and was popularly known as “ANTI-RAPE ACT”. Under this, new offences such as stalking, acid attacks, voyeurism were added in the definition of rape of Indian penal code. Even the threat of rape is a crime and person will be punishable for the same. The minimum sentence was changed from seven years to ten years due to increase in the number of rape cases and cases which leads to death of victim, the minimum sentence was increased to 20 years.


since one of the accused in this case is a juvenile, another flaw in the system was identified. The age for being tried as an adult for violent crimes was changed from 18 to 16 years, that to the juvenile justice act,2015. Nirbhaya act is an Indian legislation passed by Lok Sabha on 19th march 2013, and by Rajya Sabha on 21stmarch 2013 which provides amendment of Indian penal code, Indian evidence act and code of criminal procedure, 1973 and other laws relating to sexual offence. Government approves changes in POSCO (protection of children from sexual offence) act, includes death penalty for sexual offence against children. The proposed changes in POSCO act also provides fine and imprisonment to curb child pornography. This modification in the law will address the need for stringent measures against rising trend of child sex abuse in the country. It also intends to protect the interest of vulnerable children and ensure their safety and dignity.


India is known for positive ones like for its culture, diversity of religion, beautiful scenery. But few incidents which take place, makes it negative. After the Nirbhaya rape case, where a woman was brutally raped mainly because she was out late at night, and was enjoying her freedom. Although the government has taken steps to improve the condition, it has not helped women much. Non- existent implementation of government schemes for the betterment of woman’s situation is one of the main reasons for the dire situation of women in India. The protesters made several demands such as insufficient and incompetent security of women, unreliable public transport, improper functioning of police force who often blame the rape victims and denied to write an FIR for the crime inflicted upon them and forms of bureaucratic procedure surrounding sexual assault. Though the women’s helpline has been started, it is not accessible to rural areas.


Also, a RAPE CRISIS CELL should be set up for providing immediate notification of the case when an FIR in relation to sexual offence is made. Therefore, the cell should provide legal aid to the victim. All the police station should have CCTV’s at the entrance and in the questioning room so as to monitor their activities. Also, they can implement a system of online FIR of filing a case. The police must be trained on how to deal with sexual offence effectively and appropriately. It is recommended that sex education should be imparted to children to get to know if anything wrong happens to them. The supreme court administered justice to the family of the victim and all women in the country by conforming the punishment of death sentence to four convicts, terminate of the “rarest of the rare”, most brutal and barbaric attack.


On February 1 is the second date fixed for carrying out the death sentence. The previous date was January 22 but the death warrant could not be executed as some of the accused used legal options, moving curative petition in the Supreme Court and mercy petition to the President. According to the statistics in 2017, there are more than 32500 cases of rape are registered, but only 18300 cases are disposed. A woman in Uttar Pradesh was doused with gasoline and set on fire by five accused. out of which, two accused were out on bail. As Indian laws are not that strict, the accused come out easily by obtaining bail and commits the same offence. This case had shaken the whole world, now there are more strict laws for the safety of women in this country but the situation of women is still the same. Delhi is still the rape capital of the country and still, women in India are fighting for their rights and safety.



REFERENCES:


1. THE TIMES NOW.

2. B.M GANDHI’S INDIAN PENAL CODE BY PANDEY.

3. MANUPATRA.

4. INDIA TODAY.

5. THE HINDU.



[1]Section 376 D -Gang rape; 363-kidnapping; 307-attempt to murder. [2] “Mumbai Shakti Mills rape cases: Death penalty for 3 repeat offenders”. The Times of India. TNN. Retrieved 8 April 2014. [3]IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTIONCRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 983 OF 2015 [4]The News Minute. Retrieved 30 November 2019.




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Author Details: AISWARYA LAKSHMI .J.S AND S.APARNA (2nd year student at Shastra University)

The views of the author are personal only.

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