The verdict in the gang rape and murder case of Nirbhaya is expected to be announced on September 13, 2013 at 14:30 hours. The act of crime that took away the life of the victim happened 9 months back on December 16, 2012. The four surviving individuals accused in the case – Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur – may be given the death sentence if they are found guilty. The case has been operated in a fast track court and till date there have been 130 proper hearings in the case. Ram Singh, one of the accused in the case, had committed suicide earlier in Tihar Jail when trial was being awaited and following that no further proceedings have been conducted against him.
Meanwhile the juvenile person who was also found to have been involved in the case has been sent to a reformatory home by the Juvenile Justice Board for a period of three years. Initially the case was one of rape but when Nirbhaya passed away at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore on December 29 after, for almost a fortnight, fighting grievous injuries that would have killed any lesser person a lot earlier the clause of murder was added to the case. She had been sent there on air for specialized treatment. In the 7 months that the case has been run the prosecution has come up with 85 witnesses in order to prove the following charges:
- attempt to murder
- destroying proof
- gang rape
- abnormal offence
On their part the defence too tried to save the day with 17 witnesses who were in favour of the accused. As per the police the accused had gang raped the girl and also beaten up her and her male friend with iron rods. The 28 year old software engineer had a fracture during the entire episode. When the trial was on the prosecution had stated that the accused were on the road and had targeted Nirbhaya and her friend.
The prosecution also stated that in this case the main aim behind the whole exercise was to rob the couple and quench the desire for carnal pleasures. It also said that this case was different from ordinary acts of crime and stated that the extent of injuries suffered by the victims show how tortuous the entire ordeal was for them. The police were able to get a declaration from Nirbhaya on her death bed and also got a statement from the unnamed male friend who was the only eye witness in the case.
Apart from that they had also got forensic reports that showed that Nirbhaya was indeed gang raped on that fateful night and also got CCTV footage of the gruesome yet saddening incident. The police had also claimed that the accused were found linked to the rape on the basis of DNA related evidence as well as the objects that were parts of the same case. The accused, on their part, had stated that the male friend was taught what to say by the police and they were being wrongfully implicated in the case.
This case has had some widespread ramifications as is evident from the fact that it created a series of widespread protests that went on for months on the end and basically forced the government to come up with an anti-rape law that had some really strict measures. Social media and networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook have been meanwhile seen people ask for death penalty to be handed to the accused. Some people have also questioned the justifiability of sending the juvenile to a correctional facility when he was one of the main perpetrators as well. So all in all, it can be said without a shadow of doubt that this will be one of the most awaited decisions of our time where people will be anticipating with baited breath to see how hard the guilty are punished. It may also be said that the whole incident has the potential to alter the perception of the common people regarding India’s judicial system.
On September 13, 2013 the four main accused in the case were found guilty and were given death penalties – perhaps this was on expected lines but seriously some efforts need to be made to make sure that such incidents are never repeated in future. How the authorities should achieve it is best left to them but one feels that long term measures are the key over here.