You all must be aware of the NIRBHAYA CASE, the case which shook the country. It is one of the events on which whole India united together and came on the streets to demand justice for the daughter of India. This case raised a feeling of anger among Indians and also made lawmakers rethink and rewrite their statute books. In this article, we are going to discuss this incident and its aftermath in a holistic manner.
This was one of the most heinous crimes, which took place on the streets of National Capital. A 23-year-old woman, Jyoti Singh, and her friend were returning home on the night of 16 December 2012 after watching a movie in Saket, South Delhi. They boarded the bus at Munirka for Dwarka at about 9:30 pm. There were only six others on the bus, including the driver. One of the accused was minor. They had called for passengers telling them that the bus was going towards their destination. Her friend became suspicious when the bus deviated from its normal route and its doors were shut. Which leads to a scuffle, her friend was beaten, gagged and knocked unconscious with an iron rod. The men then dragged Jyoti to the rear of the bus, beating her with the rod and raping her while the bus driver continued to drive. A medical report later said that she suffered serious injuries to her abdomen, intestines, and genitals due to the assault, and doctors said that the damage indicated that a blunt object (suspected to be the iron rod) may have been used for penetration. That rod was later described by police as being rusted. After the beatings and gang rape, the attackers threw both of the victims from the bus. The partially clothed victims were found on the road by a passerby at around 11 pm. The passerby called the Delhi Police who took the couple to Safdarjung Hospital, where Jyoti was given emergency treatment and placed on mechanical ventilation. She was found with injury marks, including numerous bite marks, all over her body. According to reports, one of the accused men admitted to having seen a rope-like object, assumed to be her intestines, being pulled out of the woman by the other assailants on the bus. Two blood-stained metal rods were retrieved from the bus and medical staff confirmed that “it was penetration by this that caused massive damage to her genitals, uterus,.. and intestines”.
Journey of Justice
First of all, it is important to know that ‘Nirbhaya’ was a pseudo name given to her by media as per the guidelines of the Supreme Court’s real name of the rape victim should not be disclosed, so many pseudo names were used in media viz. JYOTI, DAMINI, DELHI BRAVEHEART, etc. The demand for justice from every corner of the country put immense pressure on Police and Judiciary to bring accused to justice as soon as possible. Soon after 6 men were arrested in connection with the incident. They included Ram Singh, the bus driver, and his brother, Mukesh Singh, who were both arrested in Rajasthan. Ram and Mukesh Singh lived in Ravidas camp, a slum in South Delhi. Vinay Sharma, an assistant gym instructor, and Pawan Gupta, a fruit seller, were both arrested in UP and Bihar respectively. A seventeen-year-old juvenile from Badayun, Uttar Pradesh, was arrested at the Anand Vihar terminal in Delhi. The juvenile had only met the others that day. Akshay Thakur, who had come to Delhi seeking employment, was arrested in Aurangabad.
Accused Ram Singh hanged himself in Tihar jail. The juvenile accused was given a sentence of 3 years, this caused a nationwide debate, it echoed the Parliament and media channels that age for considering adult should be reduced from 18 to 16 for such heinous crimes. Also, Police wanted to do his ossification test but was not allowed.
The remaining 4 were under trial, on 10 September 2013, the four adult defendants were found guilty of rape, murder, unnatural offenses and destruction of evidence by a fast track metropolitan court and given the death penalty. In 2014, the High court upheld the judgment of the lower court and ruled that this barbaric act shook the nation and the accused must be given unprecedented punishment. But Supreme Court stayed execution on the grounds that the accused wanted to appeal. As appealing in a higher court is everyone’s Fundamental right, so did the perpetrators. But the apex court on 5 May 2017 also upheld the decision of High court and put this crime in ‘rarest of the rare’ category and said they had committed “a barbaric crime” that had “shaken society’s conscience,”.
But they still had the right to file a review petition, mercy petition, curative petition; these legal hurdles delayed their execution months and years. Supreme Court rejected their review petitions one by one. Finally, On January 7, 2020, a death warrant was issued for the Nirbhaya rapists by a Delhi court, setting an execution date of January 22, 2020, in Tihar Jail. 2 weeks were given according to 2014 Supreme Court ruling to wind up any of their pending businesses. But on 16 January 2019, the jail administration extended the date as their Mercy petition is with President, so until it is rejected by the President they will not be hanged. But it is the very clear intent of Judiciary and executive that they will be soon ‘hanged till death’.
The fight for justice was not easy for Nirbhaya’s parents, they are not happy with the delay all because of this red-tapism.
The Impact of this incidence
This case left a permanent impression on the country’s conscience and had many impacts in its aftermath. Few major changes are discussed below:
- This case first ended up the taboo about discussing rape crimes, for the first time India discussed blatantly such barbaric acts.
- Sexual offenses against women were taken very seriously and lawmakers decided to provide stringent safeguards
- Many state governments took initiatives like the Government of Karnataka announced the launch of a 24/7 dedicated helpline (1091) to be operated by the state police to register sexual abuse complaints from women, the Government of Tamil Nadu also announced a 13-point action plan to ensure safety of women, the Government of Himachal Pradesh decided to set up state and district-level committees to review progress of all cases of crimes against women.
- Delhi police launched the Himmat app to ensure safety and many other state police launched similar apps.
- In 2013, Parliament passes the Criminal Law Amendment Act ( Nirbhaya Act), which changes many provisions regarding offenses against women, like stalking and voyeurism became offenses only for men. Stringent punishment was decided for sexual harassment and acid attacks also.
- In the same year, The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act came.
- In 2013 budget, Nirbhaya Fund was announced by then Finance minister with a corpus of 10000 crores, which was established for empowerment, safety and security of women, and girl children
- In 2015, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, has been passed by Parliament of India which allows for juveniles in conflict with Law in the age group of 16–18, involved in Heinous Offences, to be tried as adults.
- In 2017, some new points were included in New Taxi Policy for women safety, like GPS fitted panic system should be there in a taxi, there should not be a central locking system in taxies, Driver photo and other details should be displayed on the taxi.
- BBC made a document on this named ‘India’s daughter’, Netflix made ‘Delhi Crime’ based on this.
So we can say that this case has so many effects in every domain in India.