We have been betrayed, say parents of 19-year-old rape victim after SC order

SC acquits three accused sentenced to death for gang rape and murder of 19-year-old

November 08, 2022 01:12 am | Updated 01:12 am IST - New Delhi

The victim’s father sits dejected after the Supreme Court pronounced its verdict on Monday.

The victim’s father sits dejected after the Supreme Court pronounced its verdict on Monday. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Anxiously waiting on the Supreme Court lawns on Monday morning, the parents of a 19-year-old girl who was brutally gang-raped and murdered in 2012 after being allegedly abducted by three men in Dwarka’s Chhawla, were fairly confident that the appeal filed by the culprits against their death penalty would be turned down.

However, when a three-judge Bench pronounced the judgment in the afternoon, it seemed like the world had come crashing down on the parents. For them, the last decade had revolved only around fighting an arduous legal battle to get justice for their daughter. The Supreme Court acquitted the three men in the case, saying lack of clinching evidence and  glaring lapses in the trial leave the court no other alternative but to let them go free

Lifelessly squatting on the lawns, a heartbroken father told The Hindu: “We thought that since the lower courts had already convicted and given them [the three men] the death sentence, today’s order will just be a formality and come in our favour but we were left in shock after the court set them free. It feels like the court doesn’t care about what happened to our daughter and the brutality with which she was killed”.

On February 9, 2012, the victim along with her three friends was returning after work from Gurugram’s Cyber Hub at 8 p.m., when she was allegedly dragged and taken away in a car by the three accused near her house in Qutub Vihar near Dwarka. Her body was found three days later in a mutilated condition by the Haryana police in a mustard field in Rewari.

The Delhi police had stated that there were multiple injuries on the girl’s body and that she had allegedly been assaulted with objects ranging from car tools to earthen pots. The three men, identified as Rahul, 27, Ravi, 23, and Vinod, 23, were arrested and a case was lodged against them under IPC sections pertaining to gangrape, murder, kidnapping and unnatural sex.

Had rejected proposal

One of the accused, Ravi, had allegedly roped in the co-accused for the crime as the victim had rejected his proposal, the police had said.

In 2014, a trial court had found the three men guilty and sentenced them to death. The court, however, acquitted them of unnatural sex due to lack of evidence. In August 2014, the Delhi High Court had confirmed capital punishment. The three men had then challenged the order in the Supreme Court in 2015 and the judgment was reserved in April this year.

A copy of the verdict was yet to be made public till the filing of this report.

The 19-year-old used to live with her parents and two siblings in a modest one-room house in Qutub Vihar. While her father works as a security guard, her mother is a housewife.

‘Studious girl’

The victim’s father said: “The three men will now go on to perpetrate the same crime with other innocent girls. The court has simply washed off the sins that the accused have committed. My daughter had always been a very studious girl and was doing very well at her workplace. We didn’t know the men and neither was I aware of any proposal that had been made by the accused to my daughter. It has been a long journey where my wife and I had to run pillar to post. We tried to get justice for our daughter but all that has become irrelevant after this ruling”.

He said that after the incident, he feared sending out his other daughters as he thought that a similar incident might happen to them. “We are a poor family and earn enough to eat two square meal a day. I don’t know if we can continue the legal battle anymore. After what happened today, I have lost faith in the justice system,” the father added.

Fuming with anger, the victim’s mother, said, “We have been betrayed by the Supreme Court today. My husband works on night shift. He came straight from work to the court. He hasn’t eaten anything since the verdict...I don’t know what to say.

Activists criticise order

Meanwhile, women’s right activists criticised SC’s decision and asserted that this will embolden the accused.

Activist Yogita Bhayana who was standing outside the Supreme Court said, “I am totally overwhelmed. In the morning, we were fully hopeful that the apex court will uphold the capital punishment and we were even mentally prepared that they might convert the death sentence to life imprisonment. But when I first heard about the acquittal, I could not believe my ears. There is absolutely no justification for this acquittal. We will go for an appeal.”

Social activist Vinod Bachheti, who had been supporting the family for the last 10 years in their fight for justice, said they will hold a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the future course of action.

“There is a high probability that we will file an appeal against the verdict and even approach the President of India,” he said.

Delhi Commission For Women chief Swati Maliwal highlighted the brutality meted out to the victim and asked will this not boost the morale of the rapists.

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