What happened in the Nirbhaya Case (Photo Credit: PTI File)
The four men convicted of the gang rape and murder of a Delhi woman on December 16, 2012 were hanged in the darkness of pre-dawn on Friday, ending a horrific chapter in India's long history of sexual assault that had seared the nation's soul. Mukesh Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) were executed at 5.30 am for the savage assault in an empty moving bus on the 23-year-old physiotherapy intern who came to be known the world over as Nirbhaya, the fearless one.
After raping and brutalising the woman, the men, one of whom was a juvenile at the time, dumped her on the road and left for dead on the cold winter night. Her friend who was with her was also severely beaten and thrown out along with her. She was so severely violated that her insides were spilling out when she was taken to hospital. She died in a Singapore hospital after battling for her life for a fortnight.
Six people, including the four convicts and the juvenile, were named as accused. While Ram Singh allegedly committed suicide in the Tihar Jail days after the trial began in the case, the juvenile was released in 2015 after spending three years in a correctional home.
Here is the chronology of events in the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case:
December 16, 2012: Paramedical student gang-raped and brutally assaulted by six men in a private bus and thrown out of the moving vehicle along with her male friend. The victim is admitted to Safdarjung Hospital.
December 29: Victim succumbs to injuries and other medical conditions. Police add murder charge in FIR.
January 2, 2013: Then Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir inaugurates fast track court (FTC) for speedy trial in sexual offence cases.
August 31: JJB convicts a minor for gang-rape and murder and awards three-year term at probation home.
September 10: Delhi court convicts Mukesh, Vinay, Akshay, Pawan of 13 offences including gang-rape, unnatural offence and murder of the girl and attempt to murder her male friend.
September 13: Court awards death penalty to all 4 convicts.
March 13: HC upholds death penalty to the 4 convicts.
March 15: SC stays execution of 2 convicts, Mukesh and Pawan, after they file appeals. Later, stays execution of other convicts also.
February 3, 2017: SC says it would hear afresh the aspect of awarding death penalty to the convicts.
May 5: SC upholds death penalty to four convicts, says the case falls under the category of 'rarest of rare' and the offence created "tsunami of shock".
November 8: Mukesh, one of the four death row convicts in the case, moves SC seeking review of its verdict upholding the capital punishment awarded to him.
December 15: Convicts Vinay Sharma and Pawan Kumar Gupta move SC for review of its verdict.
July 9: SC dismisses review pleas of three convicts.
December 10, 2019: Akshay moves plea in SC seeking review of his death penalty.
December 18: Superme Court dismisses Akshay's review plea. Delhi court directs Tihar authorities to issue notice to convicts to avail their remaining legal remedies.
December 19: Delhi High Court dismisses plea of Pawan Kumar Gupta claiming he was a juvenile at the time of the offence.
January 6, 2020: Delhi court dismisses complaint filed by Pawan's father seeking FIR against sole witness for allegedly deposing falsely.
January 7: Delhi court issues death warrants against the four convicts for hanging on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar jail.
January 14: Supreme Court rejects curative petition of Vinay and Mukesh. Mukesh files mercy petition before President.
January 17: President Ram Nath Kovind rejects Mukesh's mercy plea. Tihar jail authorities seeks fresh date of hanging, trial court fixes Feb 1, 6 AM for execution.
January 25: Mukesh moves Supreme Court against rejection of mercy plea.
January 29: Akshay approaches Supreme Court with curative petition. Supreme Court rejects plea of Mukesh challenging rejection of his mercy plea.
January 30: Supreme Court dismisses curative plea of Akshay.
January 31: Supreme Court dismisses Pawan's plea seeking review of its order rejecting his juvenility claim. Delhi court again postpones execution of the black warrants till further order.
February 5: High Court dismisses Centre's plea against trial court order; says all 4 convicts have to be hanged together. It directs convicts to pursue all legal remedies within a week, failing which the authorities ordered to take action in accordance with law. Centre, Delhi govt move Supreme Court challenging High Court's verdict on hanging of convicts.
February 6: Tihar authorities move court for fresh death warrants, trial court seeks convicts response.
February 7: Delhi court dismisses Tihar's plea seeking fresh date for execution of convicts.
February 11: Vinay moves Supreme Court challenging rejection of mercy plea. Victim's parents move Delhi court seeking fresh death warrant for convicts.
February 13: Pawan refuses lawyer from DLSA as legal aid, jail authorities inform trial court. Supreme Court appoints senior advocate Anjana Prakash as amicus to represent Pawan. Vinay claims mental illness in Supreme Court, Centre says he has sound mind.
February 14: Supreme Court dismisses Vinay's plea challenging rejection of mercy petition.
February 17: Mukesh refuses to be represented by advocate Vrinda Grover. Delhi court issues fresh death warrants for March 3.
February 28: Pawan files curative plea in Supreme Court
March 2: Supreme Court dismisses curative petition of Pawan. He files mercy plea. Delhi court defers hanging of 4 death row convicts till further order.
March 4: Delhi govt moves court seeking fresh date for execution of cnvicts.
March 5: Delhi court fixes Mar 20 as date of execution of convicts.
March 6: Mukesh moves Supreme Court seeking restoration of his legal remedies.
March 11: Pawan moves court for FIR against cops for alleged prison assault.
March 12: Pawan's father moves High Court against rejection of complaint for FIR against sole witness.
March 13: Vinay moves High Court claiming procedural lapse in mercy plea rejection.
March 16: Supreme Court rejects Mukesh's plea seeking restoration of legal remedies. 3 death row convicts move ICJ seeking stay on execution.
March 17: Mukesh moves court seeking quashing of death penalty on claim of not being in Delhi at the time of crime, plea dismissed. Pawan moves Supreme Court with fresh curative petition and Akshay files second mercy petition.
March 18: Mukesh moves High Court against trial court's Mar 17 order, plea dismissed. Pawan, Vinay and Akshay seek stay on death penalty, Delhi court issues notice to Tihar, Police.
March 19: Supreme Court rejects curative petition of Pawan. Mukesh moves Supreme Court claiming he was not in Delhi on Dec 16, 2012, plea dismissed. Delhi court dismisses plea of Pawan, Vinay and Akshay seeking stay of execution. Supreme Court dismisses Akshay's plea challenging rejection of second mercy petition.
March 20: Delhi High Court dismisses plea of three convicts seeking stay on execution, convicts move Supreme Court. In a pre-dawn hearing, Supreme Court brings down curtain on the case by rejecting plea of Pawan Gupta against rejection of second mercy plea.
March 20: All four convicts hanged in Tihar jail at 5.30 am.