Judge Yogesh Khanna says of convicted Delhi rapists: 'I convict all of the accused. They have been found guilty of gang rape, unnatural offenses, destruction of evidence... and for committing the murder of the helpless victim' - @AJELive
The 2012 Delhi gang rape case involved a rape and fatal assault that occurred on 16 December 2012 in Munirka, a neighbourhood in South Delhi. The incident took place when a 23-year-old female physiotherapy intern, Jyoti Singh was beaten and gang raped in a private bus in which she was travelling with her boyfriend, Awindra Pratap Pandey. There were six others in the bus, including the driver, all of whom raped the woman and beat her friend. Thirteen days after the assault, she was transferred to a hospital in Singapore for emergency treatment, but died from her injuries two days later. The incident generated widespread national and international coverage and was widely condemned, both in India and abroad. Subsequently, public protests against the state and central governments for failing to provide adequate security for women took place in New Delhi, where thousands of protesters clashed with security forces. Similar protests took place in major cities throughout the country. Because India does not allow the press to publicize a rape victim's name, the victim has become widely known as Nirbhaya, meaning "fearless", and her life and death have come to symbolize women's struggle to end rape and the long-held practice of blaming the victim rather than the perpetrator.
All the accused were arrested and charged with sexual assault and murder. One of the accused, Ram Singh, died in police custody on 11 March 2013 in the Tihar Jail. According to some published reports, the police say Ram Singh hanged himself, but defence lawyers and his family suspect he was murdered. The rest of the accused went on trial in a fast-track court; the prosecution finished presenting its evidence on 8 July 2013. The juvenile was convicted of rape and murder and given the maximum sentence of three years' imprisonment in a reform facility. On 10 September 2013, the four remaining adult defendants were found guilty of rape and murder and three days later were sentenced to death by hanging. On 13 March 2014, Delhi High Court in the death reference case and hearing appeals against the conviction by the lower Court, upheld the guilty verdict and the death sentences.
As a result of the protests, in December 2012, a judicial committee was set up to study and take public suggestions for the best ways to amend laws to provide quicker investigation and prosecution of sex offenders. After considering about 80,000 suggestions, the committee submitted a report which indicated that failures on the part of the government and police were the root cause behind crimes against women. In 2013, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 was promulgated by President Pranab Mukherjee, several new laws were passed, and six new fast-track courts were created to hear rape cases. Critics argue that the legal system remains slow to hear and prosecute rape cases, but most agree that the case has resulted in a tremendous increase in the public discussion of crimes against women and statistics show that there has been an improvement in the number of women willing to file a crime report. However, in December 2014, the two-year anniversary of the attack, the girl's father called the promises of reform unmet and said that he felt regret in that he had not been able to bring justice for his daughter and other women like her. A BBC documentary titled India's Daughter based on the attack was broadcast in the UK on 4 March 2015.