Nirbhaya waits for justice
“Tareekh pe tareekh, tareekh pe tareekh, tareekh pe tareekh milti gayi My Lord, par insaaf nahi mila” is a famous dialogue from Bollywood’s iconic movie Damini. The lead character, a lawyer, portrayed by Sunny Deol loses his cool in courtroom while seeking justice for protagonist Damini, played by Meenakshi Seshadri.
Today, I am reminded of these lines as a Delhi court stayed the execution of four convicts on death row in the Nirbhaya rape and murder case. Nirbhaya was 23 when she last breathed. A young aspiring Physiotherapist who fought till her last breath was thrown out from a moving bus on a chilly night after being raped and brutally assaulted.
As the chilling details of the fateful night of December 16, 2012 emerged, India was shocked. The nation grieved at the appalling treatment that was meted out to one of its daughters. This, in a country where women are worshipped.
And with each passing day, as the whispers about the convicts’ execution were becoming louder, Nirbhaya’s parents’ fight for justice seemed to bear fruit. BUT. A roadblock yet again, courtesy — delay tactics of the convicts.
On Friday, a Delhi court stayed the execution of Nirbhaya convicts “till further orders.” Convicts Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar (31) were scheduled to be hanged on February 1 at 6 am. This is for the second time that the execution of the death warrants has been deferred. The first order for execution of death sentence, issued on January 7 for January 22, was stayed on January 17.
Advocate A P Singh, the counsel for the three convicts — Pawan, Vinay and Akshay — had urged the court to adjourn the matter “sine die” saying their legal remedies were yet to be exhausted.
NIRBHAYA GANGRAPE-MURDER CASE: A TIMELINE
December 16, 2012: Brutal rape of Nirbhaya by five men — Ram Singh, the bus driver, and brother Mukesh Singh, besides Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta, and a minor that shook the nation.
January 3, 2013: Delhi Police files charge-sheet against five adult accused for offences including murder, gang rape, attempt to murder, kidnapping, unnatural offences and dacoity.
January 28, 2013: Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) rules that sixth accused is a minor.
February 2, 2013: Five adult accused are charged with 13 offences including murder.
March 11, 2013: Ram Singh, the bus driver, is found hanging in his cell in Tihar jail.
March 21, 3013: Rape law in the country amended, new tougher anti-rape law to punish sex crimes, including death for repeat rape offenders.
August 31, 2013: JJB convicts the juvenile for gang rape and murder and awards three years term at a probation home.
September 10, 2013: Fast Track court convicts Mukesh, Vinay, Akshay, Pawan of 13 offences including gang rape, unnatural offence and murder of the woman and attempt to murder her male friend.
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.
November 1, 2013: The Delhi High Court starts hearing the case on a daily basis.
March 13, 2014: The Delhi High Court upholds the death sentences awarded to the four convicts.
December 20, 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.
March 27, 2017: Supreme Court reserves verdict after nearly a year of hearing the case.
May 5, 2017: Supreme Court upholds death penalty of four accused – Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Singh.
July 9, 2018: Supreme Court rejects review petition filed by Pawan, Mukesh and Vinay
December 13, 2018: Nirbhaya’s parents move Patiala House court seeking expediting the execution of convict
October 29, 2019: Tihar Jail gives seven days time to Nirbahaya rape and murder convicts to file the mercy petition or else they will go to court and seek black warrants
November 8, 2019: Vinay Sharma files mercy petition with Delhi government
November 29, 2019: Home department of Delhi government rejects Vinay Sharma’s mercy petition forwards the file to chief secretary
November 30, 2019: Chief secretary rejects it and moves the file to Home Minister Satyendera (check spelling) Jain
December 1, 2019: Jain rejects it and forwards it to LG’s office
December 2, 2019: LG rejects mercy plea of Vinay, gives approval to Delhi govt decisions
December 6, 2019: MHA has sent to President, Delhi govt recommendation rejecting Vinay’s mercy plea
December 10, 2019: Akshay files a review petition in Supreme Court.
December 17, 2019: CJI recuses from hearing review plea.
December 18, 2019: Supreme Court rejects review plea
December 19: Delhi HC dismisses plea of Pawan Kumar Gupta claiming he was a juvenile at the time of the offence.
Despite the outpouring of public anger, little appears to have changed in these 7 years since Nirbhaya’s rape. And the WAIT for justice continues.
Court stays execution of Nirbhaya convicts; Asha Devi breaks down