Facts of the Case:
- Prosecutrix was a 23-year-old woman and a para-medical student.
- She went to PVR Select-City Walk Mall, to watch a movie with her friend.
While they were returning and were waiting for a transport at Munirka transport
bus-stand, one of the culprits persuaded both of them to get inside vacant bus.
- Both were attacked by six men who were already on the bus. One of them
was a minor aged 17 yrs. The victim's companion tried to protect her but was
beaten mercilessly by them.
- On 16/12/2012, victim was assaulted and gang raped by 6 men, her private
parts were tremendously damaged. They were later tossed off the bus.
Culprits tried to run the bus over both of them. However, both succeeded in
- They were taken to the hospital but later prosecutrix, due to several
medical complications died on 29/12/2012.
- Whether Section 375 of Indian Penal Code covers the crime of rape
entirely or not?
- Whether the convicts of such crimes should be given death penalty or
- Whether a juvenile committing such heinous crimes should be given
punishment equivalent to an adult?
- Whether public outrage on any gruesome occurrence can become a criterion
for determining punishment in a case?
- Constitution of India: Article 14.
- Indian Penal Code, 1860: Section 120B, Section 201, Section 302, Section
307, Section 365, Section 366, Section 375, Section 376(2)(g), Section 377,
Section 395, Section 396, Section 397, Section 412, Section 420, Section
- Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973: Section 313, Section 354, Section
357A, Section 428.
- Indian Evidence Act, 1872: Section 10, Section 11, Section 24, Section
25, Section 26, Section 27, Section 45, Section 65, Section 65B, Section
- Limitation Act, 1963: Article 115.
- Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
- Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2005.
Contention from Appellant's side:
Contention from Respondent's side:
- The counsel pleaded that Judges should not rely upon DNA report as the
victim had experienced blood-transfusion while undergoing treatment at
hospital. In cases of blood-transfusion, there is a possibility that DNA
profiling might vary.
- It was also presented that the condition of victim was miserable and
therefore she was not in position to give dying-declaration. The third
dying-declaration given by victim should have been video chartered and it is
not possible to rely upon such type of declaration keeping in mind that the
victim's condition was poor.
- Convicts Pawan Kumar and Vinay Sharma kept on asserting that
they were not present in the bus and have not committed any offence against her.
Third convict Akshay Singh asserted that he was not in Delhi on the day the
incident took place. He went to his home town with his sister-in-law and nephew.
- The witnesses presented by him were his own family members who were
trying their best to prove that he was with them at the time of occurrence
of the incident and he was not involved in this matter in anyway.
- It was found that DNA profile created from blood stains obtained from
the iron rod matched with DNA of the person in question. The defense counsel
said that this should not be taken into consideration as neither the victim
nor her friend had talked about it in their first proclamations.
- The convicts constantly said that their names were not mentioned in FIR.
They also pleaded that Batla-House blamed were let off and
they should not be given death penalty for such accusations. They tried to gain
sympathy by saying that their poor status is the reason why they are not able to
hire a good legal advisor.
- The convict Vinay Sharma is a student and has applied for air
force and is not involved in said case. The counsel uttered that, "God gives
life and only he can take it and not man-made courts." Death punishment should
be awarded only in special cases and life imprisonment should be preferred for
rest of cases. The crime was not pre meditated.
- The convicts Pawan Kumar and Vinay Sharma pleaded that they were
juvenile when this incident occurred and their birth-certificate declaring their
ages to be higher is not correct. Mukesh pleaded that he was not in the bus on
the night when this incident took place. He only has the license to drive LMV's.
He also said that police tortured him to confess the crime.
- Lastly, the convicts have a family who are dependent on them and the
court should consider all these points before arriving at judgment.
Analysis of Reasoning listed:
- The counsel presented that there is enough evidence at hand to penalize
- The crime was pre-meditated and falls under the category of 'rarest of
the rare cases.' The convicts had persuaded the prosecutrix and her
friend to get inside the vacant bus with a wrongful intention.
- The prosecutor demanded death penalty for all convicts and pleaded that
'no mercy should be shown to these merciless.' Death penalty would act as
deterrent as crime against women is growing day-by-day. The convicts showed
no mercy to the victim and same should be done to them.
- Lastly, crime committed is against the society as whole hence,
death-sentence is demanded.
Supreme Court upheld Delhi HC and Trial Court's decision to grant death to
remaining four convicts. Ram Singh, the fifth accused committed suicide while
the sixth one being a minor was granted three year in-correction facility by
Juvenile Justice Board. He was released in 2015. The Apex court in judgement
laid down that the intention to run the bus over prosecutrix after committing
such heinous crime indicated that every possible attempt was made to erase
The court relied on the case of Purushottam Dashrath Borate and Anr.
vs State of Maharashtra
, where it was held that the age of accused and his
family background cannot be considered as mitigating circumstances. The dreadful
acts reflecting the in-human extent to which the accused could go to satisfy
their lust, being completely oblivious, not only to the norms of society, but
also to the norms of humanity. The acts committed shook the conscience of
society as whole. Human lust was never allowed to take such a demonic form and
thus death sentence is unquestionably granted.
Cases relied upon while giving judgement:
Comment on the Case:
- Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab :
The Court ruled that severe depravity
was a valid and specific basis for death penalty. The murder commission's overly
inhumane or monstrous behaviour serves as a clear sign of perpetrator's twisted
nature. Furthermore, accepting circumstances of the act and circumstances of the
culprit in two separate watertight compartments is inappropriate. When a
homicide involves great depravity, the argument for the death sentence becomes
- Ram Singh vs Sonia and Ors.:
Here, it was decided that failing to
apply death penalty in situation when crime was done in most disgusting and vile
manner would be a failure of the judicial system.
- Devender Pal Singh vs State (NCT of delhi) :
The court ruled that if
society's collective conscience is sufficiently outraged, then death penalty
must be imposed.
- Machhi Singh vs State of Punjab :
The humanistic superstructure,
according to the court, is the foundation of the idea of "reverence for life."
The community is at risk if someone violates this value by killing another
member. If the society's collective conscience is so horrified that the bearers
of judiciary are ordered to carry out death penalty regardless of their
subjective opinion on whether or not it is advantageous to keep the death
penalty in place. Death penalty should be given.
- Ajit Singh Gujal vs State of Maharashtra :
It was decided that a line
should be drawn between regular murders and grotesque, dreadful, or horrible
killings. Although the former should receive a life sentence, the later should
necessarily receive death penalty because it is one of the rarest situations.
This case acted as turning point for feminist movement. Justice Verma
Committee was formed which suggested that meaning of rape should be enlarged.
Crimes like acid attacks and sexual harassment should also be categorised as
serious offense. These proposals were incorporated in IPC through the
Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013. Section 326A and 326B were introduced
which covered the issues of acid-attack whereas Section 354A was also
incorporated which death with the offense of sexual harassment. Inclusion of
Section 354B, that deals with the offense of compelling a lady to take off
Karnataka Government launched a helpline number (1091) for females so that they
can register any complain against any sort of sexual maltreatment. A 13-point
action plan was introduced by Government of Tamil Nadu to ensure the well-being
of women. The Jammu and Kashmir Government also amended laws relating to sexual
harassment. Himachal Pradesh Government established various states and regional
level committees to keep a check on assaults being committed against women.
convicts, now have right to file an appeal against the decision of Court within
a period of 30-days according to Article 115 of Limitation Act. Juvenile
Justice Act was passed that stated that minor between 16-18 years of age, if
involved in conflict with law, shall be tried as an adult in cases of heinous
Current case is where all accused have manipulated the judicial process to delay
their punishment. Convicts will not be hanged until the last person on death row
has exhausted his remedies as per judgment given by Supreme Court in the case of
Harbans Singh vs State of UP & Ors
. Hanging must happen one-by-one. A person
can deliberately cause delay in filing the petition, thus making others wait.
This acts as an exceptional way of delaying the hanging process. A number of
loopholes that existed in legal system was exposed by this case.
To conclude, there is no doubt that government is taking steps to reduce such
offences, however, no stringent preventive action has been taken to stop the
occurrences. Even after this landmark judgment given, India continues to witness
increasing number of rape cases. Shakthi Mill Gang-Rape Case
Hyderabad Gang-Rape Case
are some horrific incidents that took place after the
Rather of promoting harshness, laws should be established
to enhance certainty of punishment. The criminals not only sexually assaulted
but murdered a woman in most horrific manner. They proceeded to use the Indian
judicial system most audaciously. This put justice's patience to test, but it
eventually won out over different delaying tactics.
It is unquestionably vital to give post-conviction remedies in order to correct
grave injustices. However, it is critical that the victim and society as a whole
get prompt and dignified justice. Some of the petitions are vexatious in nature.
It ruins Court's time and they undermined the public's trust in swift justice,
prompting a reassessment of quality-control mechanisms in India's
post-conviction litigation. This case definitely sparked the fire for women's
right and safety.
Justice Verma Committee was formed within a week after said
incident and the then finance minister allocated "Nirbhaya Fund" of INR 1000 Cr.
for women's safety. Fast track courts were set-up to look at the pending cases
and provide legal assistance to needy victims.
In present case, aggravating conditions outnumbered mitigating factors. In
'rarest of rare cases,' where any alternative sentence is 'unquestionably
foreclosed', death penalty must be announced. Here, terrible abuses of human
dignity have surfaced, and an unspoken sense of uneasiness had gripped the
society. Human lust was never allowed to take such a demonic form and thus death
sentence is unquestionably granted.
- Purushottam Dashrath Borate and Anr. vs State of Maharashtra, (2015) 6
- Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab, AIR 1980 SC 898.
- Ram singh vs Sonia and Ors., (2007) 3 SCC 1.
- Devender Pal Singh vs State (NCT of delhi), AIR 2002 SC 1661.
- Machhi Singh vs State of Punjab, 1983 AIR 957.
- Ajit Singh Gujal vs State of Maharashtra, (2011)14 SCC 401.
- PRS Legislative Research, https://prsindia.org/policy/report-summaries/justice-verma-committee-report-summary
(last visited May 29, 2021).
- Indian Penal Code, 1860.
- Indian Penal Code, 1860, Section 326A.
- Indian Penal Code, 1860, Section 326B.
- Indian Penal Code, 1860, Section 354A.
- Indian Penal Code, 1860, Section 354B.
- Limitation Act, 1963, art. 115.
- Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
- Harbans Singh vs State of UP & Ors., 1982 AIR 849.