In it’s long-awaited but a landmark judgment on Friday, the Supreme Court calling Nirbhaya Case an “offense that created a tsunami of shock”, upheld the death penalty verdict awarded to four convicts – Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, Mukesh Singh.
The 429-page long judgment as uploaded on the website of the court addressed the unfortunate 16th December 2012 as “the cold evening of Delhi” which brought “devastating hour of darkness” to the 23-year-old Para Medical student. Nirbhaya had succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012. The court called the criminal offense an “extremely brutal, diabolical and barbaric” one. It said that the manner in which she was treated is so “devilish that it is…humanly inconceivable”. SC, taking into account the “severe nature of offense” unanimously upheld the death penalty. Many lawyers commented that the judgment appears to be an outcome of Judges’ own reasoning and understanding. Not much convincing was needed from outside.
The family, political leaders and social activists welcomed the judgment of the court calling it a “tribute to Nirbhaya’s soul”. Nirbhaya’s mother called it a “victory for her family” saying that she had full trust in Supreme Court. The parents said the Death sentence is a “Closure” for them now.
Notably, Justice R. Bhanumathi, concluding her judgment on the case mentioned:
“I hope that this gruesome incident in the capital and death of this young woman will be an eye-opener for a mass movement “to end violence against women” and “respect for women and her dignity” and sensitizing public at large on gender justice. Every individual, irrespective of his/her gender must be willing to assume the responsibility in the fight for gender justice and also awaken public opinion on gender justice. The public at large, in particular men, are to be sensitized on gender justice. The battle for gender justice can be won only with strict implementation of legislative provisions, sensitization of public, taking other proactive steps at all levels for combating violence against women and ensuring widespread attitudinal changes and comprehensive change in the existing mindset. We hope that this incident will pave the way for the same.”
However, on the other side, AP Singh, the Lawyer of convicts was quoted saying:
Justice not done, we will file review petition after reading the order: (Samaaj mein message dene ke liye kisi ko phansi nahi de sakte, human rights ki dhajiyaan udd gayin).
The message is clear and not just the family of the brave girl but also the whole nation hopes that this verdict will have a marked influence on ensuring women security in the country. Offenses against women, as the Supreme Court pointed out, are not just the issue of a particular gender but a matter of Human Rights. Such acts show “mental perversion” and leave us ashamed speaking of our failure as a civilized society.