Chhawla gang-rape-murder: Delhi govt moves SC seeking review of its verdict acquitting 3 convicts

Police had found multiple injuries on the woman’s body. Further investigation and autopsy revealed she was attacked with car tools, glass bottles, metal objects, and other weapons. She was also raped.

Chhawla gang-rape-murder: Delhi govt moves SC seeking review of verdict acquitting 3 convicts

The court said "nothing concrete has been done" and directed the government to immediately release Rs 5 lakh as ex-gratia interim payment for each of the minor victims who have lost their life. (Representational image)

The Delhi government has moved the Supreme Court seeking a review of its November 7 verdict acquitting three death row convicts of gang-rape and murder of a 19-year-old girl in Delhi’s Chhawla area in 2012, saying the offence was “diabolic in nature exhibiting grave depravity and bestiality” and fell under the “rarest of rare” category.

Highlighting that scientific evidence “withstood legal scrutiny and revolutionised crime investigations”, the review plea said the DNA sample tests showed “positive results” linking the accused with the crime.

The top court had on November 7 acquitted the three men while setting aside the Delhi High Court’s August 26, 2014 order upholding the death sentence awarded by the trial court.

Several review pleas including the one filed by the father of the deceased victim against the apex court verdict have been filed recently.

The Delhi government’s review plea, settled by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, referred to “errors apparent on face of the records” in the apex court judgement.

“Offences like these do not just affect the victim and her family but have a much larger and grave impact on the society as well, which is bound to adversely influence the nation’s fight of zero tolerance of sexual offences against the women. “Acts of gruesome nature such as rape not only violate the victim’s personal integrity but also leave an indelible mark in the society at large. This is the reason why families do not feel confident enough to send their daughters out to contribute to the nation,” the plea said.

Seeking the verdict to be set aside, it said the trial court and the high court had awarded the death penalty to the convicts after taking note of the the “diabolic” manner, exhibiting grave depravity and bestiality, in which the crime was committed.

“In the instant case the crime and the manner in which the said crime was committed reflects the nature of sexual predators and sexual psychopaths who with complete impunity and brazenness chose to kidnap the young 18-year-old girl from a public road while she was on her way back from office along with her friends,” it said.

The accused “raped and brutalised the prosecutrix in a moving car for several hours and finally continued to satisfy their depravity in a field close to Jhajjar, Haryana where they not only violated and brutalised her body by gang raping her and inflicting grave injuries upon her, but continued their bestiality even upon the lifeless body of the victim resulting in grave post mortem injuries especially on the sexual organs of the deceased,” it alleged.

Referring to various evidence, the review plea said the crime has been proved beyond the shadow of all reasonable doubt by not only conclusive and convincing scientific evidence in the form of DNA and medical analysis but with other corroborative evidences as well including but not limited to recoveries, mobile phone records, location records etc.

Any leniency shown to the convicts will be counterproductive and against social interest, it said.

“It is submitted that the standard of scrutiny of evidence in cases like this, primacy has to be given to DNA evidence which has scientific exactitude and also the acquittal despite such categoric and comprehensive scientific evidence has resulted in miscast of justice and is also bound to adversely impact the Nation’s fight for sexual offences against women which have a direct impact on the standing and contribution of one half of the population,” the review plea said.

It said the observation of the top court in respect of tampering of DNA samples was “misconceived and incorrect”. “The High Court and the Trial Court have categorically and conclusively appreciated and held that the DNA Profiling conducted on the evidence and samples collected such as blood found on jack, long black strand of hair found from the seat of the car, semen from seat covers of the car, vaginal and anal swab of the deceased and hair strand found on the body were consistent to each other,” it said.

There was no tampering of the evidence and the chain of custody was fully established without any iota of doubt, it said while referring to the verdicts of the high court and the trial court.

“Rape is not only an offence against the woman but a malice against the society at large. Since the crime bears societal implications, the Courts should examine the broader probabilities of a case and not get swayed by minor contradictions in the statements of witnesses which are not of fatal nature to invalidate/ disregard the allegations of rape,” it said.

On November 7, the top court while acquitting the three convicts had said the law does not permit courts to punish an accused on the basis of moral conviction or on suspicion alone.

It had made the observation while noting that a kind of agony and frustration may be caused to the society in general and to the family of the victim in particular if the accused involved in the heinous crime go unpunished or are acquitted.

It, however, said the prosecution failed to provide leading, cogent, clinching and clear evidence, including those related to DNA profiling and call detail records (CDRs), against the accused, and said the trial court also acted as a “passive umpire”.

The three men were accused of abducting, gang-raping and brutally killing the 19-year-old woman in February 2012.

Her mutilated body was found three days after she was abducted.

In 2014, a trial court awarded death penalty to the three accused, terming the case “rarest of rare”.

According to the prosecution, the woman worked in Gurgaon’s Cyber City area and belonged to Uttarakhand. She was returning from her workplace and was near her home when the three men abducted her in a car.

When she didn’t return home, her parents lodged a missing person report, the prosecution said, adding the woman’s mutilated and decomposing body was found in a village in Rewari, Haryana.

The police found multiple injuries on the woman’s body. Further investigation and autopsy revealed she was attacked with car tools, glass bottles, metal objects, and other weapons. She was also raped, they said.

Police arrested the three men allegedly involved in the crime and claimed one of them took revenge after the woman spurned his advances.

(With PTI inputs)

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