Hours after the Supreme Court acquitted all three accused in the Chhawla gang rape and murder case, the victim’s family expressed shock at the top court’s verdict, saying they had lost faith in the judiciary.
On February 9, 2012, the 19-year-old victim, who worked with a private company in Gurugram’s Cyber City, was returning home from work and had de-boarded a bus at southwest Delhi’s Qutub Vihar, a mere 10-walk away from her house at Chhawla Camp, when she was abducted. Days later, the woman’s body was found in a field at Rodhai village in Haryana’s Rewari district, with multiple injuries and burn marks. An autopsy revealed she was attacked with car tools, glass bottles and sharp metal objects.
Three alleged accused – Rahul, Ravi and Vinod – were convicted and the awarded the death sentence by a city court on February 19, 2014. The judgement of the trial court was upheld by the Delhi high court on August 26 the same year, noting the brutal manner in which the body was mutilated before and after the woman was kidnapped and raped, referring to the accused as “trained blood hounds picking out a scent”.
Sentencing them to death, the high court judges had observed, “It would be a crime against the society to allow those who are so inveterately depraved the freedom to wander, in fact their fellows, prey upon society, and to multiply their kind.”
However, on Monday, the Supreme Court acquitted the three, citing glaring lapses in the investigation and trial of the case, leaving the woman’s parents, who were present at the court premises, shocked and dejected.
“For more than 10 years, we fought in the courts, hoping that our daughter will get justice. But after the Supreme Court’s decision to acquit all three accused, we have lost our faith in the judiciary… We have also lost the will to live,” said the woman’s father.
Originally from Uttarakhand, the father works as a security guard to support his family of four and said that he has been fighting the legal battle in courts through the goodwill of the people.
Attributing the acquittal order as a “failure of the judiciary” and “injustice” to poor people like him, the father said, “We got this injustice because we are poor and not politicians or ministers. What we expected for the accused, the judiciary gave it to us.” He added that on Tuesday, the family will meet those who “supported us morally and financially in our battle for justice” to decide their further course of action.