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Pol leaders, jurists, Bollywood join Nirbhaya family to call for plugging loopholes in rape laws

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi/Bengaluru 

Political leaders, jurists and Bollywood celebrities on Friday joined the family of Nirbhaya to call for plugging loopholes in the rape laws to ensure those on death row for this crime are not allowed to "manipulate" the legal system for delaying the execution.

As reactions poured from all sections of the society that justice has finally been done to the 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, who later came to be known as 'Nirbhaya', the fearless one, her parents said they will study the loopholes found during their seven-year-long legal struggle and prepare a list with the help of their lawyers and well-wishers.

Four men - Mukesh Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) - convicted of the gang-rape and murder of Nirbhaya in December 2012 in Delhi were hanged at 5.30 am inside Tihar Jail.

Nirbhaya's mother Asha Devi said justice was delayed but not denied while father Badrinath Singh said although his daughter has got justice, the family will now fight for daughters of the country and work to plug the loopholes in the rape laws.

"We will request the Supreme Court to issue guidelines so that no one can adopt delaying tactics in such cases in future," said Asha Devi.

"Justice has been delivered finally, but after much delay. Our fight to ensure timely justice to other such women victims will continue, and hope the system will ensure fast-tracked courts for speedy justice," she told reporters at her home in Dwarka in west Delhi.

Nirbhaya's father said the entire world knows she has finally got justice but he does not think everyone will.

"Today, Nirbhaya has got justice and message has gone across the country that those who indulge in such heinous crimes will not be spared. But we need to take forward this struggle. We want to study the loopholes during our seven-year-long legal struggle," he added.

He said the family will consult their lawyers, well-wishers and other well-meaning people. "They will study the case and prepare a list of the loopholes in the system. We will give it to the government and tell them to make necessary changes."

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Friday 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."

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.

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 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.

Hegde said there should be some system to prevent "such misuse", adding he does not buy the argument that everybody has a right to challenge it as long as it's permissible in law.

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.

Actor Preity Zinta tweeted, "Finally the #Nirbhayacase comes to an end. I wish it would have been faster but I'm happy it's over. Finally she & her parents are in peace. #RIPNirbhaya #Justicedelayed #TookTooLong."

"If #Nirbhaya rapists were hung in 2012 the judicial system would have stopped so much crime against women. Fear of the law would have kept the lawless in check. Prevention is always better than cure. It's time the Indian govt takes steps for judicial reforms. #RIPNirbhaya."

Echoing similar sentiments, Riteish said, "Stricter law enforcement, harsher punishment & fast courts for quick justice is the only way to instil fear in monsters who even think of such heinous acts. #JusticeForNirbhaya... The wait has been long but the justice has been served."

Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said it has taken long time for Nirbhaya's parents to get justice but it has been done finally.

Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal said time has come to create a strong system for a speedy punishment of heinous crime convicts.

National Commission for Women (NCW) chief Rekha Sharma said the Nirbhaya case has revealed loopholes in the legal system which the four convicts took advantage of.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 20 2020. 16:48 IST