SC upholds death penalty for the four Nirbhaya accused
SC upholds death penalty for the four Nirbhaya accused
Praveen Dwivedi
SC upholds death penalty for the four Nirbhaya accused
Photo: Graphics by Akash Mishra

SC upholds death penalty for the four Nirbhaya accused

In a verdict that, for many, has reinstated the faith in the judiciary, the Supreme Court today upheld the death sentence awarded to the convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case.

Three of the four adult convicts had filed review petitions, seeking reduction of the death sentence to life imprisonment. But the country’s apex court refused to view the case with any leniency.

The apex court on May 5, 2017, had upheld the verdict of a fast track court that had pronounced death sentences to all the four accused. Thereafter, three of four accused — Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Singh — filed a review petition against the verdict. The fourth co-accused, Akshay Thakur, had not filed for a review. The fifth accused, Ram Singh, committed suicide while in prison and the juvenile involved was released after serving a three-year sentence.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice R Bhanumati and Justice Ashok Bhushan upheld the earlier verdict.

On the fateful evening of December 16, 2012, six persons gang raped a 23-year-old medical student in a moving bus and brutalised her by inserting an iron road in her private parts before throwing her out of the moving bus naked on the road in South Delhi.

The victim, later christened Nirbhaya, died on December 29 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. 

The incident led to an outpour against sexual violence that was unprecedented in India, triggering changes to laws on sexual crimes against women.

At a glance:

December 16, 2012 — Six persons brutally gang rape the girl; the victim dies on December 29

December 22, 2012 — Delhi police arrested all six persons, including the juvenile.

March 11, 2013 — Main accused Ram Singh commits suicide in Tihar jail.

August 31, 2013 — Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) finds the juvenile guilty of rape and murder; sentences him to three years in a Special Home.

September 13, 2013 — Four remaining accused sentenced to death by Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna.

March 13, 2014 — Delhi High Court Bench comprising Justices Reva Khetrapal and Pratibha Rani upholds the trial court verdict.

May 5, 2016 — The apex court upholds death penalty for the four accused.

May 5, 2017 — The Supreme Court rejects the plea by four convicts, challenging their death penalty.

November 13, 2017 — The convicts appeal to the apex court to review the sentence.

July 9, 2018 — The Supreme Court upholds its earlier verdict and refuses leniency plea of the convicts.