New Delhi: Six years on, Nirbhaya is still waiting for justice. The 23-year-old paramedic student was raped on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012 inside a moving bus in south Delhi by five men and a juvenile. The victim, who was severely assaulted, was thrown out on the road along with her male friend. She succumbed to injuries at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore on December 29, where she had been airlifted for medical treatment.

On July 9, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice R. Bhanumathi, upheld the death sentence awarded to four of the accused in May 2017 after three of them - Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta - filed a petition in the court to review the judgment. Akshay Singh, the fourth convict, did not file a review petition against his death sentence.

One of the accused, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in jail nearly three months after the crime, while the juvenile was convicted by the Juvenile Justice Board and was let off in December 2015 after serving three years in a reformation home.

The top court on December 13 dismissed a plea seeking directions for immediate execution of the four death row convicts.


Here’s a brief timeline of events

December 16, 2012: ‘Nirbhaya’ is raped and beaten up by six men in a moving bus. She and her male friend were thrown out after being severely tortured.

The victim and her male friend were returning to Dwarka after watching a movie at Select Citywalk mall in Saket, Delhi. The accused beat the friend and took turns to rape the victim.

December 17: Police identify the accused - bus driver Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and a juvenile.

December 18: Police arrest the accused.

December 21: Juvenile arrested from Anand Vihar bus terminal in Delhi.

December 22: Sixth accused Akshay Thakur arrested from Bihar. Protests against the gang rape pick up with nationwide outrage on the incident. Thousands gather at India Gate, as victim remains critical. Victim gives a statement to the sub-divisional magistrate.

December 24: Two gangrape accused brought before a Delhi court and they admitted that they had committed a horrible crime and “deserved to be hanged”.

December 29: The victim succumbs to massive internal injuries after battling with them for over 13 days.

December 30: The victim’s body arrives in New Delhi. Protesters rallied peacefully in the capital and other cities to keep the pressure on the government to get tougher on crimes against women.

January 3, 2013: Five men are formally charged and a sixth accused was due to be tried separately in a juvenile court.

January 23: A panel headed by late Justice JS Verma rejects the idea of the death penalty for rape cases

February 2: Five accused charged with 13 offences including murder.

February 28: Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) frames rape, murder charges against minor accused.

March 11: Main accused Ram Singh commits suicide in his cell in Tihar jail number 3.

July 11: JJB holds minor guilty of illegally confining and robbing a carpenter on December 16 night before allegedly taking part in the gangrape.

August 31: JJB convicts the minor for gangrape and murder and awards three years term at a probation home.

September 10: Court convicts Mukesh, Vinay, Akshay, Pawan of 13 offences including gangrape, unnatural offence, and murder of the girl and attempt to murder her male friend.

September 13: Four remaining accused sentenced to death by Additional Sessions Judge.

May 5: Four remaining accused sentenced to death by Additional Sessions Judge.

March 27: SC reserves verdict after nearly a year of hearing the case.

May 5: SC rejects the plea by four convicts challenging death penalty.

November 13: The convicts appeal to the apex court to review the sentence.

July 9, 2018: The Supreme Court rejects review pleas of three out of four convicts awarded death penalty. A bench headed by the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra said these convicts – Mukesh (31), Pawan Gupta (24) and Vinay Sharma (25) – have failed to point out any “error apparent on the face of record” in the judgment and they were given elaborate hearing during their appeal against the Delhi High Court judgment.

December 13: The top court dismisses a plea seeking directions for immediate execution of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case. “What kind of prayer you are making?,” a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta told the petitioner. “You are making the court a joke,” it said.