"rule of law and not impetuous mob mentality, decides the fate"
The four men who were involved in the 2012 Delhi gang-rape case finally faced justice on March 20, 2020.
The convicts were hanged at 5:30 am in the high-security Tihar Jail in Delhi, seven years after they tortured and gang-raped a young woman on a moving bus.
A Delhi Court declared that they had run out of all legal options which prevented their execution.
Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Singh had filed multiple petitions over the past few months, managing to stall their execution several times.
The Supreme Court told Singh that they did not believe his claims. He had told them that he was not in Delhi when the crime was committed.
Thakur’s lawyer had pleaded: “Send them to the India-Pakistan border, send them to Doklam, but don’t hang them.”
However, the appeal was dismissed. There was also a commotion when Thakur’s wife, who had sought a divorce, fainted outside a court building.
The judge took note of the considerable time consumed by the judiciary in the case and addressed the doubts that have been lingering in the minds of some people on the efficacy of the rule of law.
The court said the resilience of law signified the inherent safeguards against human errors and not the weakness of the law.
The judge said: “When would the convicts meet the creator for their eternal penitence?
“The issue has been pestering the conscience of the community for the past some time. The time consumed by the process of law has even led some diffident voices to timorously question the very efficacy of ‘rule of law’.
“Let me inform all the suspecting souls that in this great land of Gautam Buddha and Gandhi, rule of law and not impetuous mob mentality, decides the fate of even the most wretched criminals and most abominable crimes.
“The resilience of law signifies the inherent safeguards against human errors and not the weakness of law.”
The Delhi gang-rape case led to anger over the scale of sexual violence in India and eventually led to tougher laws.
The victim, who came to be known as ‘Nirbhaya’, died as a result of her injuries.
Following the hangings, the victim’s mother, Asha Devi, spoke to reporters. She said:
“We are satisfied that finally, my daughter got justice after seven years. The beasts have been hanged.
“I hugged my daughter’s photograph and told her we finally got justice.”
Her father added that his “faith in the judiciary had been restored”.
The execution was India’s first since 2015 and it resulted in celebrations outside the prison.
Sandeep Goel, head of Tihar Jail, stated: “The four convicts were hanged together at 5:30 am.”