The District Court of Saket on 13 September 2013, pronounced the maximum sentence of death penalty to the four convicts of the 16 December 2012 Delhi gangrape case Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Mukesh Singh and Pawan Gupta. Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna kept the case under the rarest of rare category warranting capital punishment.
The four accused were convicted by the Saket court on 10 September 2013 for the gangrape as well as murder of the 23-year-old paramedic student. Apart from murder and gangrape, they were also convicted for other offences which included unnatural offences, attempt to murder, dacoity, destruction of evidence, conspiracy, kidnapping and abducting for murder.
It is important to note that the fifth accused Ram Singh allegedly committed suicide in the Tihar Jail on 11 March 2013. The sixth accused, who was the minor, was convicted by the Juvenile Justice Board for murder and gangrape and was awarded three years jail term at the probation home. The unnamed minor was tried separately in the Juvenile Court.
Defence lawyer AP Singh declared to appeal in the High Court against the verdict. Special public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan in the meanwhile expressed satisfaction over the verdict of the Saket court.
Verdict by the additional sessions judge Yogesh Khanna
"Death to all. Besides discussing others offences, I straightaway come to section 302 (murder) of IPC. This falls under inhuman nature of the convicts and the gravity of offence they committed cannot be tolerated. Death sentence is given to all the four convicts.”
Who is a Juvenile?
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 is a main legal framework for the juvenile justice in India. The Act facilitates special approach towards treatment as well as prevention of the juvenile.
Under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, the “juvenile” or “child” means a person who has not completed eighteenth year of age and “juvenile in conflict” with law means a juvenile who is alleged to have committed an offence.
Meaning of Rarest of the Rare
It is important to note that the crime of rape itself does not amount to the capital punishment under the provisions of the Indian law. The maximum punishment which can be awarded is life imprisonment under the Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code. However, the Supreme Court of India, which is the Apex Court, can give death sentence to the accused in the case which comes under the category of rarest of the rare.
The Rarest of the Rare case is decided based upon the aggravating and mitigating circumstances of a case. These are the two categories of factors which are considered and balanced by the court while deciding upon the verdict of a case.
The 23-year old para-medical student (also known as Damini or Nirbhaya) was gang raped in New Delhi on 16 December 2012. She passed away in Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore on 29 December 2012. She was raped in the moving bus by six men, one of which included a minor. The 16 December gang rape led to massive protests across the country.
Former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Altamas Kabir inaugurated the first fast-track court in Delhi on 2 January 2013 for dealing with the crimes against females. The first fast-track court in Delhi was set up in the Saket Court Complex and the first case to be heard here was that of the Delhi gangrape which took place on 16 December 2012.