The 2013 Mumbai gang rape case which is rather remembered as the Shakti Mills gang rape case was one of the most heinous crime of that time. The victim was a 22 year old photojournalist who was interning with an English language magazine in Mumbai, who had gone to the Shakti Mills compound for an assignment, along with one of her male colleague, where she was raped. The case went on to be more serious when a telephone operator stated that she was too raped in the Shakti Mills, out of which the three accused were same as in the rape case of the journalist. This was the first time in India that the rapists were charged and given death sentence under Section 376E of IPC. The case not only came into light for its dynamic judgment but also the controversial statements made by various political leaders in the upfront.
FACTS OF THE CASE
On 22nd August 2013, a 22 year old photojournalist working in Mumbai went to Shakti Mills compound to take some pictures of the mill, along with one of her male colleague. The victim and her colleague left the office around 5:00 p.m to reach the place for the same. According to the statement provided by them five of the men first tied the male colleague and then took her to another place in the mill compound itself where they raped her in turns while holding a beer bottle against her neck so that she was unable to shout for help. The rapists then forced her to clean off the crime scene and also took two pictures on their phone blackmailing that they would release it if she opened her mouth. The victim was bleeding heavily when brought to the hospital.
On 3rd September, a 19 year old telephone operator working in a private firm reported to the officials that she had been raped at the Shakti Mills compound by five men on 31 July 2013. The thing of concern was that three of the accused were same as in the case of the photojournalist. The victim here had gone there with her boyfriend and in the similar manner her colleague was tied up and she was raped. The reason of not reporting crime at that time was the fear of the victims.
ISSUES OF THE CASE
In the case the accused were held under various sections of IPC for gang rape under 376(d) also accounting for unnatural offence under 377. The victim was held inappropriately by all the five following a conspiracy thus sections 342 and 343 for wrongful restraint, 120(b) for criminal conspiracy and 34 for common intention were also in question. The victim gave a clear statement how she was held at a broken beer bottle and forced to clean the place thus section 506(2) for criminal intimidation and 201 for destruction of evidence was also brought in front.
In question to section 67A of Information Technology Act, the court provided that out of all the accused the one who showed the clips to the victim can only be held . The point was section 376E of IPC since in view of the complaint by the 19 year old telephone operator three of the accused were repeated offenders.
JUDGEMENT OF THE CASE
Taking both the photojournalist and telephone operator case in mind the 6 of the entire accused in total were convicted. Two of the juveniles got 3years in reform school and one of the accused got life imprisonment. The three repeated offender were awarded with death penalty. The court were the appeal was moved for the strict punishment stated that the offenders have no respect for the law and would have not stopped if the officials would have not caught them and thus this is the case where death penalty should be given. The judge observed further that the gang rape accused were not only enjoying the act of sexual assault but also the survivor’s helplessness and the depravity of it can be seen from this very fact thus there is no punishment that can be given other than death penalty to them.
This was the very first case in India where the accused were awarded with death penalty under section 376E of IPC. Although this case’s verdict ignores the proportionality principle of Judicial Review where it calls for striking down the laws that are excessively harsh or disproportionate, the court stated that a defenseless, harmless victim was raped by the accused without any provocation and this is not the result of any momentary lapse thus there is no chance of leniency.
There were many controversial comments passed by political leaders pitting in question the character, dress code and lifestyle of the girls. This created a stir in the country and such comments were widely criticized by the people of India.