‘Rape’, ‘Molestation’, ‘Sexual abuse’ and so many more such terms that have a regular occurrence in newspapers. However, what does a victim of such immoral acts face? What happens when she dies due to such monstrosity? Is it equal to hanging the culprits? That too, after so many years?
On the cold night of December 16, 2012, a 23-year-old woman was brutally assaulted and raped in a moving bus in South Delhi. The newspapers had reported later that the woman was Jyoti Singh (“Nirbhaya”), a physiotherapy intern who was returning with her friend Awindra Pratap Pandey after watching the movie ‘Life of Pi’. Such a disastrous change from a normal life like any other, both for the parents and the victim. She was gang-raped for over an hour and then tortured with an iron rod by one of the juvenile attackers. Even though all the six men in the Nirbhaya rape case, including the juvenile, were convicted, capital punishment was given to only four in 2013. Out of the six, one of them had committed suicide in the Tihar Jail while the other was a minor who received a maximum of 3 years imprisonment.
The case is coming to a closure with the convicts being finally executed at 7 am on January 22, 2020. The order to execute the death sentence of the convicts – Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Akshay Thakur – comes seven years later, after Supreme Court had sentenced them to death. Even though it should have been done immediately after this monstrous crime, at least it’s still happening.
On the other hand, we also have the Supreme Court undertaking the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) review petition on January 22. After the numerous protests against the contentious CAA, the Supreme Court had finally decided to hear the appeals that state that the law is anti-constitutional.
On December 9, 2019, the CAB Bill was tabled in Lok Sabha’s Winter Session and on January 10 the same got passed after a long debate and discussions. The Rajya Sabha passed the argumentative Citizenship (Amendment) Bill with 125 MPs voting in favour of it while 105 against it on December 11, 2019. With the assent of President Ram Nath Kovind, it became an Act on December 12, 2019.
So now comes the inevitable question. Will the execution of justice have an impact on review for justice? Which one will overshadow which one? Isn’t it slightly coincidental that both of them fall on the same date? I think that both of the incidents should receive equal importance and attention. Both of them have massively impacted our lives. While the hanging of the Nirbhaya rapists show that the justice system is present, even if late, the undertaking of the CAA review petition is an important aspect which has troubled the entire nation. The Attorney General KK Venugopal said arguments on the stay of the Act would be as long as those on the challenge of the Act, while Advocate Rajiv Dhawan said there was no need for a stay since the law hadn’t come into effect.
However, it may not be a coincidence that the Nirbhaya verdict execution has fallen on the same date. While giving hopes to citizens who fought for justice to Nirbhaya, this might as well drive their attention from CAA which they are fighting against, now.
Nonetheless, January 22 seems to be a day to be remembered, as, on one side, justice will be granted, while on the other the nation will be waiting for the apex court to pass its judgement on CAA. Do you think the execution of justice will overshadow the judgment on CAA?