SC Dismisses Review Pleas Of December 2012 Gang-Rape Convicts

This week, the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty for three rapists in the Jyoti Singh Pandey gang-rape and murder case. A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan delivered the judgement on the pleas of Mukesh (29), Pawan Gupta (22) and Vinay Sharma (23). The fourth death row convict, Akshay Kumar Singh (31), did not file a review petition against the apex court’s May 5, 2017 judgement. It has taken nearly six years for the judiciary to give the final verdict. Such cases should be disposed off within six to nine months so that they can serve as a deterrent for future offenders. When justice is not delivered on time, it encourages offenders to believe that by borrowing time they can escape from the clutches of law. This is evident from the increasing daily reports of harassments, rapes or murders. When a 4-year-old girl was raped and killed in Yemen this year, the rapist was shot dead and hanged in public view.

The news about the 23-year-old being gang-raped in a moving bus in Delhi on December 16, 2012, was reported all across the world. The plight of the victim, whose male friend was also badly beaten up by the culprits, had outraged the country. Thousands of people took to the streets to protest and express their anger at the incident. I personally took part in many online petitions to try and ensure that justice was delivered swiftly.

Jyoti Singh Pandey’s parents had shifted from their small farming village in U.P. to the capital city of New Delhi in search of work. Pandey was studying to be a physiotherapist, and her family’s limited means was directed towards her career. Her father earned just about $200 every month as an airport baggage handler and had sold ancestral land to pay for her tuition. She also supported her family by working at an outsourcing firm and also by giving private tuitions to school children.

This horrific incident led to a major overhaul of laws governing such crimes, faster prosecutions in courts and harsher punishments for perpetrators. Unfortunately, all said and done, the 23-year-old succumbed to her injuries on December 29, 2012, at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

Upholding the death sentence in May 2017, the Supreme Court had said that the “brutal, barbaric and diabolic nature” of the crime could create a “tsunami of shock” to destroy a civilized society. “We are happy that the Supreme Court had heard our plea and decided on whatever is just. The punishment meted out to the convicts will be exemplary,” said Jyoti’s parents.

This case took an unprecedented turn in terms of incorporating big changes to laws on sexual crimes against women. The Supreme Court was asked to reconsider its ruling in a review plea which it declined. And now, the perpetrators are left with no choice but to appeal to the President for mercy.

After the judgment on Monday, Jyoti’s mother Asha Devi said that justice had been delivered. She feels that all the rapists should be hanged immediately, including the youngest.

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