NEW DELHI: The mother of Nirbhaya, the woman who was gangraped and murdered here on December 16, 2012, today said her faith in the judiciary was reinstated after the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty for three of the four convicts in the case, while politicians and activists also hailed the development.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan today rejected the pleas of Mukesh (29), Pawan Gupta (22) and Vinay Sharma (23), seeking a review of the top court's verdict upholding the death sentence awarded to them, saying no grounds were made out for a review of the judgment.
The apex court said the death row convicts had failed to point out "error apparent on the face of record" in the verdict.
"The Supreme Court upholding its verdict is a strong message to those who commit such heinous crimes. Our faith in the judiciary has been reinstated. I appeal to the prime minister to take concrete steps against atrocities towards young girls and women," Asha Devi, the mother of the victim, said.
Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi also expressed satisfaction at the top court's decision to uphold the death penalty of the convicts.
"I am satisfied that the Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of the Nirbhaya case convicts. Not only this, a Madhya Pradesh court has recently awarded death sentence in a case of rape of a minor girl.
"This is the first verdict after the new law came into force. The stringent measures taken by our government are working and will act as a strong deterrent for the perpetrators of such heinous crimes," she said.
Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Chairperson Swati Maliwal also welcomed the development even as she questioned the six-year delay in dispensing justice in the case.
She said the DCW would issue a notice to the Delhi Police and the Tihar Jail authorities, asking them to expedite the execution of the convicted rapists.
Hailing the move, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said, "We welcome the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the guilt of those who had appealed for a review.
The apex court's decision is based on the present legal framework, which recommends death penalty in the rarest of rare cases."
She, however, added, "As far as death penalty is concerned, as a matter of principle, we are against it."
Activist Annie Raja also welcomed the apex court's decision to uphold the death penalty of the convicts in the case, even as she wondered whether capital punishment could prevent such crimes.
"Even after the Nirbhaya incident, so many women were raped and killed barbarically. I think true justice for Nirbhaya will be when such crimes against women stop in the society," she said.
BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said the Supreme Court's decision brought a sense of satisfaction to Nirbhaya's parents and all those who were emotionally attached to the case.
"If there is no retribution, people will indulge in lynching and pick up weapons. To ensure that it does not happen, the exercise of power and control over violence needs to be handled firmly by the State," she said.
The Congress also welcomed the development, saying it will serve as a lesson for those who attempt such crimes.
"Justice Prevails! #NirbhayaVerdict. The punishment is a lesson to all those, who attempt such horrid crimes. We stand by Nirbhaya's parents, as always, in this quest of justice! Hope government will now follow up to act decisively on issues of women's safety (sic)," Randeep Surjewala, the chief spokesperson of the party, wrote on Twitter.
Amnesty International India, however, said executions did not eradicate violence against women.
"Unfortunately, executions do not eradicate violence against women. There is no evidence to show that death penalty acts as a deterrent for sexual violence or any other crime.
Instead, the government must allocate adequate resources for effective implementation of laws, to improve the conviction rate and ensure certainty of justice in all cases," Asmita Basu, Amnesty International India's Programmes director, said.
The fourth death row convict in the case, Akshay Kumar Singh (31), did not file a review petition against the Supreme Court's May 5, 2017 verdict.
The apex court had, in its May 2017 verdict, upheld the capital punishment awarded to the convicts by the Delhi High Court and the trial court in the gangrape and murder case of the 23-year-old paramedic student.
The woman was raped on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012 in a running bus in south Delhi by six persons.
She was also severely assaulted before being thrown out on the road.
She succumbed to the injuries at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore on December 29, 2012.
One of the accused in the case, Ram Singh, had allegedly committed suicide in the Tihar Jail here.
A juvenile accused was convicted by a juvenile justice board.
He was released from a reformation home after serving a three-year term.