2012 Chhawala Rape: SC Acquits 3 Accused Sentenced to Death

SC said that the prosecution ‘failed to prove their case’ against the convicts and gave them ‘the benefit of the doubt’.
Supreme Court of India (SC)
Supreme Court of India (SC)

The Supreme Court released three rape accused on Monday who were awarded death penalty by Delhi Court for raping and killing a 19-year-old in Delhi’s Chhawala area in 2012.

SC said that the prosecution ‘failed to prove their case’ against the convicts and gave them ‘the benefit of the doubt’.

According to reports, the convicts, identified as Ravi Kumar, Rahul and Vinod, were found guilty and sentenced to death by the trial court in 2014 and the Delhi High Court upheld the death penalty in August 2014 by terming them as ‘predators’ moving on the streets and ‘were looking for prey’.

However, a Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice UU Lalit said that the prosecution failed to prove the charges against the three men and that the court acted like a ‘passive umpire’ while convicting them.

The top court said that the prosecution was unable to establish the identity of the accused pointing to what it called ‘glaring lapses’ in the trial.

It also pointed out that out of the 49 witnesses, 10 of them were not cross examined in the trial.

“Courts should strictly decide cases on merits in accordance with law. Courts should not be influenced by any kind of outside moral pressures or otherwise,” the court said.

Notably, the heinous incident took place months before the Nirbhaya rape case.

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In February 2012, the body of 19-year-old was found mutilated and burnt at a field in Haryana’s Rewari district, days after she was kidnapped.

During investigation, it was revealed that acid was poured in the victim’s eyes and a bottle of liquor was inserted in her private parts.

After the Delhi High Court sentenced them to death, the three accused challenged the ruling in Supreme Court, asking that their sentence could be reduced.

In the SC, the Delhi Police had opposed reduction of the death penalty. They said that the crime committed was not only against the victim but also against the society.

For the argument, the convicts’ defense cited their age, family background and past criminal record in order to reduce their sentence.

Following the apex court’s verdict, the parents of the victim said they were "broken" by the judgment however, asserted that they would continue their legal fight.

They said, "We came here for justice. This is a blind justice system."

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