Women lawyers move SC against December 16 gangrape case advocates

An association of women lawyers on Friday mentioned in the Supreme court a petition seeking action against two advocates for making derogatory remarks on women in a BBC documentary on December 16 gangrape case. A bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu said it would hear the matter next week.The Supreme Court Women Lawyers Association in its petition sought restriction on the entry of advocate ML Sharma and AP Singh, who had made derogatory comments on women in the documentary and had also appeared for the accused in the December 16 gangrape case, in the apex court premises.

The petition sought protection of fundamental rights, guaranteed under the Constitution, of the female advocates practicing in the apex court to work with dignity and without any gender bias.

“The present petition is necessitated due to the ignominy and the direct attack on the dignity of women, especially women lawyers practicing in Supreme Court who have suffered due to the statements made and publicized by two male lawyers, and specially the respondent no. 1 (Sharma), who regularly practices in the Supreme Court,” it said.

The petition said the comments made by the two advocates in the BBC documentary, “India’s Daughter” are “inhumane, scandalous, unjustifiable, biased, outrageous, ill-minded” and are a “direct affront to and in violation of the dignity of women”, especially those practicing in the Supreme court. The petition, filed through advocate Mahalakshmi Pavani, has made Chairperson of Gender Sensitization Committee and Registrar of the apex court parties and submitted a transcript of the two lawyers’ comments.

It also sought court’s direction to Sharma and Singh to issue public apology in media for holding and making public views which are “absolutely derogatory to the dignity of women” and refraining from issuing such statements in future.

Those who attack women should be brought to justice: UN

As four convicts in the Dec 16 gang-rape of a young woman were Friday sentenced to death, the UN said though it was against capital punishment, perpetrators of crimes against women should be brought to justice.

“While the UN does not support capital punishment, perpetrators of crimes against women must be brought to justice,” Rebecca Reichmann Tavares, representative, UN Women’s office for India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, said in a statement.

She said evidence from across the world suggested that higher conviction rates served as a deterrent to violence.

“We therefore call on the government of India to do everything in its power to ensure speedy justice for survivors of violence, especially those from marginalised communities,” she said.

The Dec 16, 2012 incident in Delhi was the tipping point that has brought attention to violence against women not only in India but globally.

Many progressive reforms and changes had resulted in the anti-rape law after the incident but laws by themselves were not the solution – their implementation also mattered as did changing mindsets, it said.

“Violence against women is preventable, not inevitable,” it said.

(Source: IANS)

Death for all four in Dec 16 gang rape

Four convicts in the December 16 gangrape-cum-murder case were on Friday awarded death penalty by a Delhi court which said the gravity of the offence cannot be tolerated.

“Death to all,” Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna said while delivering the verdict in the case that had evoked nationwide outrage and led the government to bring in a stringent anti-rape law.

“Besides discussing others offences, I straightaway come to section 302 (murder) of IPC. This falls under inhuman nature of the convicts and the gravity of offence they committed cannot be tolerated. Death sentence is given to all the four convicts,” he said.

The offence committed by Mukesh (26), Akshay Thakur (28), Pawan Gupta (19) and Vinay Sharma (20) falls under the rarest of rare category warranting capital punishment, the judge said.

The four were convicted by the court on September 10 for the gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedic student.

“Court cannot turn a blind eye to such a gruesome act,” the judge said, while handing down the maximum punishment.

He said, “When crime against women is rising on day-to-day basis, so, at this point in time court cannot keep its eye shut.”

“There should be exemplary punishment in view of the unparallelled brutality with which the victim was gangraped and murdered, as the case falls under the rarest of rare category. All be given death,” the court said while reading out a portion of the order.

“This is a time when serious crime against a woman has come to the fore and now its judiciary’s responsibility to instill confidence among the women,” it said.

Besides murder, the four have been also convicted for offences including gangrape, unnatural offences, attempt to murder, dacoity, destruction of evidence, conspiracy, kidnapping or abducting in order to murder, while acquitting them of the charge of murder in dacoity.

Immediately after pronouncement of sentence, the victim’s mother expressed satisfaction over the verdict.

“’Halak mein saans atki thi, jo ab bahar nikli hai. Mein dhanywaad karti hu desh ke logon ka aur media ka’ (We were waiting with bated breath, now we are relieved. I thank the people of my country and the media),” she said.

Besides her, the victim’s father and two brothers were also present in the jam-packed court room when the sentence was pronounced.

Hearing that he will face the gallows, Vinay started crying in court while the other three convicts — Mukesh, Pawan, Akshay — started shouting for pardon, with one of the defence lawyers A.P. Singh also joining them in seeking mercy.

Advocate V K Anand, who appeared for Mukesh, said he has regard for the verdict and he will file an appeal in the Delhi High Court.

Special public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan said, “I have done my job and we (prosecution) are happy with the verdict.”

Soon after the verdict was delivered, people waiting outside the courtroom started clapping.

(Source: IANS)

Dec 16 gang rape case sentencing Friday

A fast track court, which has convicted four persons in the December 16 gangrape-cum-murder case, on Wednesday fixed September 13 for pronouncing the quantum of sentence to be awarded to them.

Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna reserved the order on punishment after hearing arguments of the prosecution, which sought death penalty for the four, and the defence lawyers.

The Delhi Police sought death penalty for the four for brutally gangraping and murdering a defenceless 23-year-old girl in a cold blooded manner.

Advancing arguments on quantum of sentence, Special Public Prosecutor Dayan Krishnan said the death sentence should be awarded to the four convicts — Mukesh (26), Vinay Sharma (20), Pawan Gupta (19) and Akshay Thakur (28) — as the case falls in the category of “rarest of rare” cases.

The defence lawyers, however, sought a lenient punishment for the convicts, saying life imprisonment in such a case is a rule while death penalty is an exception.

During the arguments, the prosecutor told the court that the convicts do not deserve any mercy, as they killed the helpless girl who kept on pleading for mercy.

“The crime is not only grotesque and diabolic in nature but the barbaric behaviour of the convicts was of the highest kind. Maximum sentence has to be given as the court should see that they have raped and killed a helpless girl, even as she pleaded for her life,” he said.

He said people at large are watching this case and if the convicts are awarded a lighter punishment, the public will lose faith in the judicial system.

“This is an extreme case of depravity and sexual assault of a young girl, who could not survive after their gruesome attack and gangrape.

“The act to damage the girl’s intestines intentionally leaves no scope of sympathy,” the prosecutor argued.

The prosecutor said as per an apex court judgement when there is murder after gangrape, the sentence should be death penalty.

At the start of arguments on point of sentence, convict Mukesh moved an application seeking issuance of contempt notice against Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde for his reported statement that death is assured for the four convicts in the case

The court, while convicting the four men on Tuesday, had said that the crime was committed in a “premeditated manner”.

The court convicted them for 13 offences including gangrape, murder, unnatural offences, attempt to murder, dacoity, destruction of evidence, conspiracy, kidnapping or abducting in order to murder, while acquitting them of the charge of murder in dacoity.

In the 237-page judgement, which had come six days short of nine months of the incident that shook the nation’s conscience, also found complicity of main accused Ram Singh, who was found dead in Tihar jail during the trial.

On August 31, the juvenile accused was convicted and sentenced to a maximum of three years in a reformation home.

On the night of December 16, last year, Ram Singh, Vinay, Akshay, Pawan, Mukesh and the juvenile had gangraped the girl in a bus after luring her and her 28-year-old male friend, who was also assaulted, on board the vehicle, which was later found to be plying illegally on Delhi roads.

The limbs of the victim’s friend, a software engineer, were fractured in the incident. The girl succumbed to her injuries on December 29, 2012 at a Singapore hospital.

(Source: IANS)

Gangrape case: Supreme Court defers hearing over counsel row

A day after two lawyers appeared before the Supreme Court claiming to represent one of the six accused in the December 16 gangrape case, the sessions Judge has been asked by the court conducting the trial to find out who the actual counsel was and if he wanted to pursue the case for transferring the trial to a court outside Delhi.

A bench headed by chief justice Altamas Kabir adjourned the hearing after the advocates indulged in verbal dual and began making claims and counterclaims for representing accused Mukesh. Refusing to hear the case, the sessions judge has been asked by the Supreme Court bench to find out who the accused’s actual counsel was.

As soon as advocate ML Sharma, who claimed to have filed the plea on behalf of accused Mukesh to seek transfer of trial to Mathura in UP on the ground of prejudice and charged atmosphere, started arguments, another lawyer VK Anand objected saying Sharma was no more associated with the case.

It was then that the Supreme Court bench asked the advocate-on-record to appear before it at noon to find out the truth. When the matter was again taken up after lunch, Anand did a U-turn, saying he has been authorised by the accused to represent him only in the trial court.

Sharma then alleged that Mukesh is being tortured by the police and Anand was trying to create hindrance in hearing of the transfer plea in the gangrape case in which arguments on charges will commence from Thursday.

The court then directed the sessions judge to talk to Mukesh and find out the truth behind these allegations and posted the matter for hearing on January 30.

Mukesh, who along with four others, has been charged with murder, gangrape and unnatural offences, has alleged that in view of regular agitations, police and judicial officials are under pressure to pass orders according to the demands of the agitators and hence, a fair hearing is not possible. “The sentiment has gone into the root of each home in Delhi by which even the judicial officers and the state are not spared and in these circumstances, he cannot get justice in Delhi at all,” Mukesh’s plea said.

Besides Mukesh, bus driver Ram Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur, have been charged with offences of murder, gangrape, attempt to murder, kidnapping, unnatural offences, dacoity, hurting in committing robbery, destruction of evidence, criminal conspiracy and common intention under IPC. Their sixth accomplice is a juvenile and is being tried separately before the Juvenile Justice Board.

Order on in camera trial, media restraint in rape case upheld

A petition which challenged the order for in camera hearing and a ban on media reporting of the December 16 gangrape case was dismissed on Wednesday by the district judge who said it was “mandatory” to hold in camera proceedings in a case of rape and related offences, and that the magistrate had been “duty bound” to pass such an order.

A revision petition had been filed on Tuesday before district judge R K Gauba challenging the order invoking Section 327 of the Code of Criminal Procedure by Metropolitan Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal.

The petitioners claimed that the day the accused were being produced, the Saket courtroom had a crowd because a large number of policemen were present there.

But according to the district judge Gauba, “the premise on which the grievance is raised stems from an erroneous understanding of the statutory rule”.

Gauba also mentioned, “The petitioners seek to question the order of the magistrate on facts. I am afraid this is not permissible as the judicial order is sacrosanct and cannot be questioned on factual aspects in the manner sought to be done.”

Aggarwal had passed the orders for in camera proceedings in the case after the prosecution said that the presence of the large number of lawyers, mediapersons and other people raised “apprehension about the safety of the undertrial prisoners”.

The district judge had asked police to reply to the petition filed by advocates D K Mishra and Poonam Kaushik who sought to set aside of the orders of the magistrate.

During arguments in court, Mishra said the media could not be barred from reporting the proceedings in the case as the “entire country wants to know what is happening in this case”.

In a reply filed on behalf of the Delhi Police, special public prosecutor Rajiv Mohan said the petition, which sought relief against a provision of procedural law, was not maintainable.

“The magistrate was within her rights, rather duty bound, to apply provisions contained in section 327(2) and (3) (in camera trial of rape cases) CrPC to the proceedings before her. .. I do not find any error, impropriety or illegality in the impugned order,” Gauba said.

Victim’s family for open court hearing

Ballia (UP): The family of the 23-year-old gangrape victim on Wednesday favoured an open court hearing in the case and said this would enable information to reach the people.

“They (general public) would otherwise not come to know of the developments and this might weaken the people’s anger, and the agitation going on against the rape and demands for a strict anti-rape law,” her family said.

 

PTI