This case is one of the landmark judgments of India which has brought many
changes in the rape laws of india as it involves extraordinarily gruesome and
barbaric. The victim Jyoti Singh was a 23-year old physiotherapy intern who
along with her friend boarded a bus at Munirka to reach Dwarka, in Delhi.
Multiple organs along with dreams and aspirations of a small town Indian girl
were destroyed on a ravenous night of 16th December in 2012, as notorious
molesters and assailants committed one of the most heinous crimes in the history
of our country.
- Nirbhaya is the pseudonym used for the rape victim of the
infamous 16 December 2012 Delhi gang rape incident. The victims, a
23-year-old woman, Jyoti Singh, and her male friend, were returning home on
the night of 16 December 2012 after watching the film Life of Pi in Saket,
- They boarded the bus at Munirka for Dwarka at about 9:30 pm (IST). There
were only six others on the bus, including the driver. One of the men,
identified as minor, had called for passengers telling them that the bus was
going towards their destination.
- Her friend became suspicious when the bus deviated from its normal route
and its doors were shut. When he objected, the group of six men already on
board, including the driver, taunted the couple, asking what they were doing
alone at such a late hour.
- The friend, when he tried to protect Nirbhaya, was beaten up by the
perpetrators. During the argument, a scuffle ensued between her friend and
the group of men. He was beaten, gagged and knocked unconscious with an iron
rod. The men then dragged Jyoti to the rear of the bus, beating her with the
rod and raping her while the bus driver continued to drive.
- Nirbhaya was not just sexually violated, her body was mutilated beyond
human imagination.A medical report later said that she suffered serious
injuries to her abdomen, intestines and genitals due to the assault, and
doctors said that the damage indicated that a blunt object (suspected to be
the iron rod) may have been used for penetration.That rod was later
described by police as being a rusted, L-shaped implement of the type used
as a wheel jack handle.She later died of multiple organ failure, internal
bleeding and cardiac arrest on the 29th of December.
- A three-judge bench agreed that the act done by the accused did not
deserve any sympathy.
- In a strong message, that the diabolic crime had shocked the collective
conscience of the society, and that the court can treat it as a rarest of
rare cases where death sentences can be awarded. DNA identification,
fingerprints, witness testimonies and odontology proved the presence of the
accused in the bus and their involvement in the crime, as said by the
- The casual manner with which she was treated and the devilish manner in
which they played with her body, her identity and her dignity is humanly
unthinkable, said the bench.
- The Supreme Court administered justice to the family of the victim and
all the women in the country by confirming the punishment of death sentence
to the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case, terming it as
the rarest of rare, most brutal and barbaric attack on the 23-year-old
paramedic student, Jyoti Singh.The convicts treated the victim as an object
of enjoyment and exploited her sexually to the worst level.
- A three-judge bench, through a unanimous verdict, upheld the Delhi High
Court judgement that had concurred with the trial court decision of the
case.Mukesh , Pawan, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Kumar Singh were hanged till
death for the brutality they had shown against a woman of the country.The
bench awarded them the death sentence because their crime met
rarest-of-rare threshold. After the incident, the fifth accused was not
tried and he was sent to a correction home for three years because he was a
minor at that time.
Changes Introduced After Nirbhaya Case:
2.Changes in the Indian Penal Code, 1860
- Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013
- The Criminal Amendment Act, 2013 is also popularly referred to as the Anti-rape
- Under this change, new offences such as stalking, acid attacks, and
voyeurism were added into the definition of rape
- Even the threat of rape is now a crime and the person will be punished
for the same.
- The minimum sentence was changed from seven years to ten years
considering the increase in the number of rape cases.
- In cases that led to the death of the victim or the victim being in a
vegetative state, the minimum sentence was increased to 20 years.
- The character of the victim was totally irrelevant to rape cases
and it doesn't make any difference in granting punishment for the crime.
- Since one of the accused in this case was a juvenile, another flaw in
the system was identified after this case. So, the age for being tried as an
adult for violent crimes like rape was changed from 18 to 16 years, that to
the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.
- There was also the inclusion of registering complaints and medical
examination. The report categorically mentioned, Any officer, who fails to
register a case of rape reported to him, or attempts to abort its
investigation, commits an offence which shall be punishable as prescribed.
- The committee gave extensive recommendations regarding avoiding marital
rape as well as rapes committed via commission of void marriages.
l Insertion of Section 166A which covers the offence of Disobedience of law by a
public servant. After the amendment Act, it is made punishable with rigorous
imprisonment for 6 months to 2 years and liable to fine.
3. Legislative reforms post Nirbhaya case
- Insertion of Section 326A and B which cover the issue of Acid attack.
The amendment Act has made it a Specific Offence under the act, punishable
with 10 years Imprisonment extendable to life imprisonment or fine or both.
- Insertion of Section 354A which deals with Sexual harassment and
punishment for the same.
- Insertion of Section 354B which covers the offence of compelling a woman
to remove her clothes.
- Insertion of Section 354C which covers the offence of Voyeurism i.e.
watching a woman when she is engaged in some private act including sexual
acts or when her private parts are exposed.
- Insertion of Section 354D which covers the offence of stalking.
- The Age of consent has been enhanced from sixteen years to eighteen
- The definition of rape has been widened after the Nirbhaya Case.
- The Amendment Act has included more actions under the purview of what
constitutes rape such as unconsented penetration of mouth, urethra, vagina,
anus with the penis or other objects by anyone and unconsented application
of mouth to vagina, urethra and anus.
- Insertion of Section 376 (2)(c) which covers the offence of Rape by
personnel of armed forces.
- Insertion of Section 376A which deals with the Rape resulting in death
or vegetative state.
- Insertion of Section 376D which deals with the crime of Gang rape.
- Repetition of offences is punishable with life imprisonment or death.
- Employment of a trafficked person can also attract penal provision as
- It has also been clarified that penetration means penetration to any
extent, and lack of physical resistance or any sort of other resistances is
immaterial for constituting the offence of rape.
- The CLA 2013 and MoHFW Guidelines are two landmark responses of the
Government of India to the public protests
- across the country after the Nirbhaya case.
- The third response taken by the government was One Stop Centres to
provide immediate to long-term care for survivors of GBV.
- The protesters had several demands such as insufficient and incompetent
security of women, unreliable public transport, improper functioning of the
police force that often blamed rape victims and denied to write an F.I.R.
for the crime inflicted upon them and forms of bureaucratic procedure
surrounding sexual assault.
- Justice Verma Committee was assigned the task of the reformation of the
anti-rape laws of the country.
- More female officers were added to Delhi's police force so that women
can share everything with them.
- Security was tightened and patrolling was increased and the police now
had to undergo gender sensitization courses which help in understanding the
issue of women rights and their safety.
- Six fast track courts were set up to specifically deal with rape cases
with the aim of providing immediate aid to rape victims.
- Laws against sexual assault were made even stricter.
- Since one of the accused was a minor (17 years old) at the time of the
crime, a need for changing juvenile laws had opened up.
- A space for public discussion of sexual violence against women that had
not existed before was created.
- Failure to provide medico-legal care is now an offence under Section
166B of the IPC as per the CLA 2013.
- All the six men in the Nirbhaya rape case including the juvenile, were
convicted by the court. All the accused were identified as Ram Singh, Mukesh
Singh, Vinay Gupta, Pawan Gupta, Akshay Thakur and a juvenile.
- Ram Singh, the bus driver, committed suicide on March 11, 2013, in Tihar
Jail during the trial.
- The minor was tried separately in a juvenile court and given the maximum
sentence of three years' imprisonment in a reform facility.
- In September 2013, the trial court had awarded capital punishment to
Mukesh, Akshay, Pawan and Vinay. Subsequently, the three convicts besides
Akshay had sought review of the judgment but it was dismissed. The order on
the review petition filed by Akshay was dismissed by the Supreme Court on
December 18, 2019 and Finally Hanged On March 20, 2020