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The Nirbhaya case – 6 Years Later, Is justice Delayed, Justice Denied?

Posted: July 9, 2018

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Almost 6 years after Jyoti Singh’s murder sparked off public outrage, her killers will face execution, affirmed the Supreme Court today. Yet, is this justice enough?

It was a cold night in December 2012, when a young woman was brutally raped and killed by six men. It was not the first time such a gruesome crime had been committed and sadly, it was not the last either.

However, this case that came to be known as the ‘Nirbhaya case’ jarred the consciousness of the entire nation. We realised that enough was enough and it was about time we fought back.

It was due to the media spotlight and the collective outcry of women across our country that the case got the attention it deserved. Jyoti Singh, who came to be called Nirbhaya, survived long enough to tell the horrific tale of her attack and identify her killers before she lost her battle for life. The case was put on fast track and the court delivered a death sentence to the convicts, declaring it one of the ‘rarest of rare’ cases where the viciousness of the crime was shocking.

This should have been the end of this story, but the convicts then filed a review petition with the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court dismissed this petition and upheld the Death Sentence of the convicts. Though this action of the court restores our faith in the legal system, nonetheless, hasn’t justice been delayed in this case? After all, it is now close to six years after the event.

This case was supposed to set a precedent for all sexual crime cases where no mercy would be shown to the perpetrators of such crimes. Yet, one of the convicts managed to escape the legal system since he was a ‘juvenile’. Nirbhaya’s statement was that he was the most violent and dangerous of the attackers, but he is now free and out on the streets. The other four are managing to prolong the legal battle by using the many loopholes that our system offers.

In this case, there was no chance of mistaken identity as the victim herself as well as the eyewitness to the crime had positively identified the killers. There was evidence collected and proper investigation done, leading to their arrest and final sentencing. In such cases, I believe that the opportunity to file a review petition or appeal to President should be removed. The sentence should be swift and execution should be done quickly. If the escape routes for criminals are closed then the crime rate would fall drastically.

It is about time that Nirbhaya’s parents and all of us who are her supporters were given closure. She lost her life and her death sparked a fire in all of us. An innocent woman was raped, tortured and killed – only because six men took fancy to her. They had no fear that they would be caught, or punished for the heinous crime they were committing, let alone that they would be hanged for the murder they were planning – giving them the impetus to commit this ghastly act.

If today we do not change our legal system to strike fear in the hearts of potential criminals, we may lose many more daughters of the nation.

In one of the interviews, Jyoti Singh’s father said – “But what next? So much time has gone by and the threat to women have gone up in this span.”

It’s scary and true that nothing has changed for women; if anything, the situation seems to be worsening. At least, let’s not delay justice anymore for Nirbhaya anymore. Let’s execute these executions so that she can finally rest in peace.

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