After a long wait of more than seven years, the death warrants to execute all four convicts in the infamous 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape murder case were issued by a Delhi court on Tuesday. The four rapist-killers will be hanged till death on January 22 at 7 am inside Tihar jail.
Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora, in his order, wrote, "...when reasonable time and opportunity has been afforded to them, there is nothing to delay the passing of orders on the application seeking issuance of death warrants".
The four convicts have still two weeks' time to file a curative petition in Supreme Court or send mercy plea to the President.
Nirbhaya case is a perfect example of how it is difficult to mete out swift punishment to perpetrators of gruesome acts. All the four convicts had committed the heinous crime, all the facts were established beyond doubt, right from the lower court to the apex court, and yet the delay.
Details of this gruesome crime are such that could unnerve even the hardened criminals. There were witnesses and evidences. There was tremendous pressure for justice from all sections of society. Delhi police, on its part, did not make any delay in investigation, and yet it took seven years for the death warrants to be signed.
Questions now do arise in our minds what may be happening to the rape victims and their families, who faced similar gruesome crimes, but their cases did not get wide publicity. These families have no support from the general public nor any big lawyers to fight their cases. They have been making rounds of the courts for many years. When will they get justice?
Justice for Nirbhaya alone will not do. The entire criminal jurisprudence system will have to be modified in a manner so that the families of victims will not have to wait long, while convicts take undue advantage of the system and spend time at leisure inside jails.
Of course, the execution of four convicts in Nirbhaya case will surely send a strong message and strike fear in the minds of criminals, but it is also a fact that 'justice delayed is justice denied'. Nirbhaya's parents got justice after making rounds of courts for seven years. You would be surprised to know that there are nearly 2,000 similar cases of gangrape languishing in law courts for more than 10 years.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 67 convicts were given a death sentence in heinous rape cases during the last two years, but not a single convict has been hanged.
It would be wrong to blame the court alone. The fault lies in the entire criminal jurisprudence system. Posts of judges are lying vacant right from lower to higher courts, there is a lack of infrastructure for courts, and for a country of 1.3 billion people, we have only seven forensic labs.
Blaming the judiciary alone won't do. We have to bring swift changes for the better in the entire system. It is only then that thousands of innocent victims like Nirbhaya will get justice at the earliest and rapists will have to think twice before they commit such heinous acts.
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