New Delhi: Six years on, Nirbhaya is still waiting for justice. The Supreme Court had awarded death sentence to four convicts — Mukesh, Pawan, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Kumar Singh — in the brutal December 16, 2012 gangrape and murder case. The top court on December 13 dismissed a plea seeking directions for immediate execution of the four death row convicts. (ALSO READ – Nirbhaya Case: SC Dismisses Plea Seeking Immediate Executive of Death Row Convicts)
The 23-year-old paramedical student was assaulted and raped by six persons in a moving bus in south Delhi and thrown out of the vehicle with her male friend on the night of December 16, 2012. She died during treatment at a Singapore hospital on December 29 that year. (ALSO READ – Nirbhaya gangrape case: Supreme Court upholds death sentence of four convicts)
Here is the timeline of the case:
December 16, 2012: A 23-year-old paramedic student is raped and beaten up by six men in a moving private bus and thrown out of it after 30 minutes of torture along with her male friend. They were admitted to Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital the same night.
The victim and her male friend were returning to Dwarka after watching a movie at Select Citywalk mall in Saket, Delhi, and were lured by the six accused. After the duo entered the bus, the accused began to harass the women which led to an altercation. The accused beat the 28-year-old male friend and then took turns to rape the woman.
December 17, 2012: Police identify four men who raped and assaulted the woman. Victim’s full extent of internal injuries determined by doctors.
December 18, 2012: Nation outraged by the brutal gangrape while the incident shook up Parliament with then Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj demanding death penalty for rapists. People were out on the streets protesting against the gangrape.
A total of four accused arrested, including bus driver and main accused Ram Singh, search on for two others. Ram Singh’s brother Mukesh, Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta were other accused in the case.
December 19, 2012: Doctors at Safdarjung Hospital treating the victim announce she is communicating through writing messages but still not out of danger. Permit of the bus, in which the incident happened, cancelled by the Transport Department.
December 20, 2012: Students from various universities demonstrated outside former Delhi chief minister Shiela Dikshit’s residence against the government’s failure to curb the rising number of such crimes against women.
The eyewitness and male friend of the victim gives statement.
December 21, 2012: Safdarjung doctors say the victim is stable, but still critical. She is taken off the ventilator. Her male friend identifies one of the accused, Mukesh, during the test identification parade at Tihar jail. Police conducts raids in Haryana and Bihar, nab one more accused Akshay Thakur.
December 22, 2012: Protests against the gangrape pick up with nation wide outrage on the incident. Thousands gather at India Gate, as victim remains critical. Victim gives statement to the sub-divisional magistrate.
December 23, 2012: Protests turn violent as protesters defy prohibitory orders of the government, face police’s water cannons and tear gas shells. Constable Subhash Tomar of Delhi Police seriously injured during clashes at India Gate.
The victim’s heath remains serious with bouts of vomiting, although she was communicating and conscious. She also suffered internal bleeding.
On December 23, 2012 a three member Committee headed by Justice JS Verma, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was constituted to recommend amendments to the Criminal Law so as to provide for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women. The other members on the Committee were Justice Leila Seth, former judge of the High Court and Gopal Subramanium, former Solicitor General of India.
December 24, 2012: Two gangrape accused brought before a Delhi court and they admitted that they had committed a horrible crime and “deserved to be hanged”.
December 25, 2012: Doctors treating the victim say she is responding to the treatment despite being critical. Platelet count and liver function of the gangrape victim improves. She gives her statement again to metropolitan magistrate after Sheila Dikshit complained to then Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde that senior police officials “interfered” in the process. However, the victim’s health deteriorates the same night.
Constable Subhash Tomar succumbs to injuries sustained during December 23 protests at India Gate.
December 26, 2012: Protests continue at Jantar Mantar. Constable Tomar cremated with full state honours. Victim shifted to Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital in a sudden move after her condition deteriorates and she suffers cardiac arrest.
December 27, 2012: The victim remains critical in the ICU of Mount Elizabeth Hospital. 3,000 security personnel, from Delhi Police and para-military forces, man Delhi roads to stop any violent demonstration.
December 28, 2012: Doctors at Mount Elizabeth say the victim’s condition worsened with signs of multiple organ failure. She gets infection in the lungs and abdomen as well as an injury to the brain.
December 29, 2012: The victim succumbs to massive internal injuries after battling with them for over 13 days. She died at 2:15 AM Indian Standard Time on December 29.
December 30, 2013: The victim’s body arrives in New Delhi. Protesters rally peacefully in the capital and other cities to keep the pressure on the government to get tougher on crimes against women.
January 2, 2013: The then Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir inaugurates fast track court (FTC) for speedy trial in sexual offence cases.
January 3, 2013: Victim’s father demands that those responsible be hanged and calls for new legislation on sex crimes to be named in honour of his daughter. Five men are formally charged and a sixth accused was due to be tried separately in a juvenile court.
January 17, 2013: Fast track court starts proceedings against five adult accused.
January 23, 2013: A panel headed by late Justice JS Verma rejects the idea of the death penalty for rape cases, and says India needs to implement existing laws to prevent rape.
January 28, 2013: Sixth accused is a minor, rules Juvenile Justice Board.
February 2, 2013: Five accused charged with 13 offences including murder.
February 28, 2013: Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) frames rape, murder charges against minor accused.
March 11, 2013: Main accused Ram Singh commits suicide in his cell in Tihar jail number 3.
March 21, 2013: India approves a tougher new anti-rape law to punish sex crimes, including death for repeat rape offenders.
July 5, 2013: Inquiry (trial) in JJB against juvenile in gangrape-cum-murder case and robbery matter concludes. JJB reserves verdict for July 11.
July 11, 2013: JJB holds minor guilty of illegally confining and robbing a carpenter on December 16 night before allegedly taking part in the gangrape.
August 22, 2013: Fast track court begins hearing of final arguments in trial against four adult accused.
August 31, 2013: JJB convicts the minor for gangrape and murder and awards three years term at a probation home.
September 10, 2013: Court convicts Mukesh, Vinay, Akshay, Pawan of 13 offences including gangrape, unnatural offence and murder of the girl 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 the Delhi High Court for confirmation of their death sentence.
January 3, 2014: The Delhi High Court reserves its verdict on confirming the death sentence and appeals of the four convicts.
March 13, 2014: The Delhi High Court upholds the death sentences awarded to the four convicts.
June 2, 2014: Two death row convicts moved the Supreme Court against the Delhi Helhi Court verdict in the case.
July 14, 2014: The Supreme Court stayed till further orders the execution of death penalty of two of the four convicts. It stayed the execution of Vinay Sharma (21) and Akshay Thakur (29), who were convicted along with other two – Mukesh (27) and Pawan Gupta (20) – whose death sentence was already stayed.
December 18, 2015: Delhi High Court refuses to stay the release of the minor accused, who walks free after three years in a juvenile home.
April 3, 2016: Supreme Court begins hearing in the case. Justices Dipak Misra, V Gopala Gowda and Kurian Joseph to hear the case.
April 8, 2016: Senior Advocates Raju Ramachandran and Sanjay Hegde appointed Amicus Curiae.
July 11, 2016: Nirbhaya hearing begins with a change in Bench. Justices Dipak Misra, R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan to preside.
August 29, 2016: High drama in the courtroom as allegations of police tampering with evidence are made; ML Sharma breaks down.
September 2, 2016: Advocate ML Sharma concludes his submissions.
September 16, 2016: Former DCP (Delhi) Chaya Sharma, who was transferred to Mizoram post the Delhi gangrape case, attends the hearing.
November 7, 2016: Senior Advocate and Amicus Curiae Raju Ramachandran makes his submissions in Court, argues for the sentencing order to be set aside.
November 28, 2016: Senior Advocate and Amicus Curiae Sanjay Hegde argues against the reliability of evidence in the case.
January 6, 2017: Supreme Court seeks mitigating circumstances from the accused.
February 3, 2017: Supreme Court decides to rehear the case on the sentencing aspect after the petitioners contend that there have been violations of the procedure.
March 6, 2017: All the convict submit additional affidavits to the court.
March 27, 2017: The Supreme Court reserves verdict after nearly a year of hearing the case.
May 5, 2017: The Supreme Court awards death penalty of the four convict in the case.
November 13, 2017: The Supreme Court defers convict Mukesh’s review petition to December 12.
December 12, 2017: The apex court adjourns review petition filed Mukesh.
July 9, 2018: The Supreme Court rejects review pleas of three out of four convicts awarded death penalty. A bench headed by the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra said these convicts – Mukesh (31), Pawan Gupta (24) and Vinay Sharma (25) – have failed to point out any “error apparent on the face of record” in the judgement and they were given elaborate hearing during their appeal against the Delhi High Court judgement.
December 13, 2018: The top court dismisses a plea seeking directions for immediate execution of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case. “What kind of prayer you are making?,” a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta told the petitioner. “You are making the court a joke,” it said.