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Nirbhaya justice delivered, but was it swift? Society, politicians weigh in

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said it is time to introspect whether death row convicts could be allowed to 'manipulate' the system

BS Web Team & Agencies  |  New Delhi 

Nirbhaya's Mother Asha Devi addresses at a programme to observe the third anniversary of Nirbhaya gang-rape case as 'Nirbhaya Chetna Divas' at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Social activists Shabana Azmi is also seen
Nirbhaya's Mother Asha Devi addresses at a programme to observe the third anniversary of Nirbhaya gang-rape case as 'Nirbhaya Chetna Divas' at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Social activists Shabana Azmi is also seen

Justice may have been delivered to Nirbhaya with Friday's hanging of four men who gangraped her, but there is a widespread feeling among politicians, activists and civil society in general on the procedural loop holes in the system which led to a delay of seven long and tiring years.

Union Law Minister said it was a day of satisfaction with Nirbhaya getting justice, but also time to introspect whether death row convicts could be allowed to "manipulate" the system to delay execution.

"It's a day of satisfaction that a daughter, who underwent so much pain, has got justice," Prasad told reporters in Parliament premises. It's time for judiciary, government and civil society to introspect whether death row convicts can be allowed to manipulate system and cause delay," he said.

Immediately after the hanging, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said there is a need to ensure that police investigations are completed in a swift manner, adding there is also a need to change the judicial system so that in such cases, victims do not have to wait for seven long years but get justice within six months.

This whole Nirbhaya case shows the number of loopholes we have in our judicial system, which gives the people a free hand in delaying justice for seven years, he added.

'It took 7 yrs for justice to be delivered. Today, we've to take a pledge that a similar incident does not happen again. We've seen how the convicts manipulated the law until recently. There are a lot of loopholes in our system, we need to improve the system,' Kejriwal said.

Weighing in on the incident, Union Minister Smriti Irani said, "Justice was delayed but it has finally been delivered. This is a message to all those who think they can commit crimes against women and escape the law."

The Congress slammed the government on its "sorry state of affairs" in implementing the Nirbhaya Fund for safety of women.

Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Amee Yajnik alleged that no details have been made available about the Fund for which a budgetary allocation of thousands of crores of rupees has been made.

Justice for Nirbhaya has been delivered by the legal system and the judicial system but the implementation of the law and the Nirbhaya Fund has not happened, she told reporters.

Retired Supreme Court judge N Santosh Hegde expressed concern that it took a "long-time" to give effect to the apex court's final judgement in the Nirbhaya case and called for steps to curb the misuse of the system.

"... the time taken to ultimately give effect to the final judgement of the Supreme Court gives rise to some sort of a thinking in the mind of the people: is justice really functioning?" Hegde told news agency PTI.

"Because ultimately when the highest court gives a verdict and constitution of law provides one review -- may be a mercy petition before the President, you (the convicts) make a joke out of that. There were multiple petitions", he noted.

Bollywood celebrities including Rishi Kapoor, Taapsee Pannu and Ritiesh Deshmukh called for stricter laws for crime against women in India.

"Jaisi karni waisi bharni (you reap what you sow). Let this set an example not only in India but world over. Punishment for rape is by death. You have to respect womanhood. Shame on the people who delayed the execution. Jai Hind!," Kapoor wrote on Twitter.

Actor Raveena Tandon also demanded swift justice in such cases in future.

"The planet is less 4 monsters. 8 long years, the parents have waited for justice. High time we demand swift justice," she wrote on the microblogging site.

First Published: Fri, March 20 2020. 20:27 IST
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