If any case warrants death, it is this: SC

No relief: Court says case clearly falls under rarest of rare category

If any case warrants death, it is this: SC

The “brutal, barbaric and diabolic” nature of crime committed against a woman in Delhi in 2012 led the Supreme Court to award death penalty to the four convicts.

“If at all there is a case warranting award of death sentence, it is the present case. If the dreadfulness displayed by the accused in committing the gang-rape, unnatural sex, insertion of iron rod in the private parts of the victim does not fall in the ‘rarest of rare category’, then one may wonder what else would fall in that category,” Justice Banumathi said in her concurring verdict.

The present case clearly comes within the category of ‘rarest of rare case’ where the question of any other punishment is ‘unquestionably foreclosed’, Justice Banumathi added, while affirming the majority judgement by Justices Dipak Misra and Ashok Bhushan.

Justice Banumathi said the accused may not be hardened criminals, but the cruel manner in which the gang-rape was committed in a moving bus, iron rods were inserted in the private parts of the victim, and the coldness with which both the victims were thrown out of the bus naked in the cold wintery night of December, shocks the collective conscience of the society. “Human lust was allowed to take such a demonic form,” she said.

The majority judgement written by Justice Misra noted that the 23-year-old woman fell prey to the savage lust of a gang of six, faced brutal assault and become a playful thing that could be tossed around at their wild whim and her private parts would be ruptured to give vent to their pervert sexual appetite, unthinkable and sadistic pleasure.

In the case, the apex court dealt with the four appellants’ arguments on every aspect, including delay in registration of FIR, non-mentioning of assailants in the FIR and questioning statement of victim’s friend.

They also questioned recovery of the bus and the CCTV footage, statement of bus owner, personal search and statements of disclosure leading to recovery, test identification parade of the appellants, and three dying declarations of the victim.

Judges’ observations 

When an incident of gang-rape like the present one surfaces, it causes ripples in the conscience of society
Serious doubts raised as to whether we really live in a civilised society, and whether men and women feel the same sense of liberty
Important to ensure that gender justice does not
remain only on paper
Offences against women are not a women’s issue alone, but human rights issue
The gruesome offences were committed with highest viciousness
Human lust was allowed to take such a demonic form
Crimes like the one before us cannot be looked at with magnanimity

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