A relieved Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Friday said some sort of closure has been achieved in the December 16, 2012 gang rape and murder case of a 23-year-old woman with the sentencing of the four accused to death by a Delhi fast track court, and added that justice has been given to the victim and her family.
“I welcome this decision. The judge has also said it was the rarest of rare cases. We had worked hard on this case and presented the evidence. The verdict will send out a strong message,” he said. Shinde said the victim and her family have finally got justice.
“She has got justice, her family has got justice. It’s an example for criminals,” said Shinde. “I am confident that the Maharashtra Government will expedite the Mumbai gang rape case too,” he added.
Meanwhile, there was an environment of celebration outside the fast track court in Saket, Delhi. The prosecution lawyer, who appeared to be thrilled with the verdict, said it is a victory for all. “Today, after so long, we have got the judgement. It is a victory for all. The family and those who have been protesting across Delhi,” he told mediapersons outside the court.
“The judiciary of the country has been upheld. We thank the media and the people of the country for their support,” he added. The prosecution lawyer also hit out at defence lawyer AP Singh for terming the judgement to be politically motivated.
Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna, while delivering his verdict earlier in the day, said the gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus last year had shaken the nation’s conscience and one could not turn a blind eye to a crime of such a heinous nature. He termed the crime as falling in the rarest of rare category, while awarding all of the four accused the death sentence.
The judge, who had on Wednesday fixed September 13 as the date for pronouncing the quantum of sentence, said such a case can’t be ignored at a time when crimes against women are on the rise. The judge also said society has no tolerance for such crimes.
A fast-track court, which had earlier on Tuesday convicted the four by relying on the victim’s dying declaration and forensic evidence, described the crime as ‘premeditated’ and ‘brutal’ act.
While pronouncing the order, the judge said the accused were found guilty of gang rape, unnatural offences, destruction of evidence and ‘for committing the murder of the helpless victim’ Of the total six accused, the prime conspirator – Ram Singh – had killed himself in Tihar Jail in March this year, while a minor accused was recently sentenced to serve three years in a special home by the Juvenile Justice Board.
The fast-track held the four remaining accused - Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur, Pawan and Mukesh – guilty of being involved in the gang-rape and murder of the 23-year-old woman. The victim's parents had earlier said that the accused should be given the death penalty.
"They should be only given the death sentence so that it sends out a strong message to the people and nobody dares to commit such a barbaric crime in the future," said the victim's father.
"If they do not get death sentence, my daughter would not get justice, and in the days to come, this crime will take dangerous form," he added.
The charges in the instant case were framed on February 2 during which the court also invoked Section 366 of the Indian penal Code (IPC) against them for abducting the girl with intention of committing "illicit intercourse".
It had in its order described the juvenile as an associate of the adult accused, who committed gang-rape in furtherance of the conspiracy and "common intention".
The four have been tried for offences under section 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 376 (2)(g) (gangrape), 377 (unnatural offences), 395 (dacoity), 396 (murder in dacoity), 201 (destruction of evidence), 120-B (conspiracy), 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder), 365 ( kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person), 394 (voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery), and 412 (dishonestly receiving property stolen in the commission of a dacoity) of the IPC.
The 23-year-old paramedical student was raped, beaten and tortured by the six men on a moving bus on the outskirts of outer Delhi. The victim died of internal injuries in a Singapore hospital two weeks later.