Uber cab driver Shiv Kumar Yadav will spend the rest of his life behind the bars, with a Delhi court on Tuesday sentencing him for the "remainder of his life" for raping a woman executive in his taxi 11 months ago, observing his acts were "against the society" and should be dealt with an "iron hand".
Additional Sessions Judge Kaveri Baweja handed down the punishment to 33-year-old Yadav under the new rape law for the offence which "endangered" the life of the 25-year-old victim.
"Convict is sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for life which shall mean imprisonment till reminder of his natural life for the offence under section 376 (2)(m) (committing rape causes grievous bodily harm) of the IPC," the judge said, announcing the sentence.
Besides the jail term, the court also imposed a fine of Rs 21,000 on Yadav which shall go to the victim by way of compensation.
"There can be no doubt that the convict in the present case, namely Shiv Kumar Yadav, committed the above stated henious offence, not only against the rape survivor in this case, but also against the society at large," the court said.
"He endangered the life of the victim while committing rape upon her and his act demands imposition of most severe punishment so that it acts as a deterrent and rebuilds the public confidence in the efficacy of the law," it observed.
The judge further said, "The sentence in this case, must therefore, serve as a step towards the effort to put and end to commission of such crimes against the women in our country. Every woman needs to feel secure in her motherland, which necessarily demands dealing with such offenders with an iron hand."
As the sentence was pronounced in the jampacked courtroom, Yadav's wife started screaming and crying inconsolably before fainting, while the victim's parents quietly left the court with tears in their eyes.
"We are highly satisfied because he got the maximum sentence provided under the law. It could not have been better for us," the victim's father said after the verdict.
In its nine-page order, the court also recommended that adequate compensation be awarded to the victim, which would be decided by the Delhi Legal Aid Services under the provisions of CrPC and the victim compensation scheme.
The court also directed Delhi Legal Services Authority to consider and make necessary provisions for the care and maintenance of aged parents, wife and minor children of Yadav.
The incident had taken place on the night of December 5 last year when the victim, a finance executive working in Gurgaon, was heading back to her house at Inderlok in Central Delhi.
Yadav was arrested on December 7, 2014 from Mathura and was in judicial custody since then.
While directing the Delhi Legal Service Authority to make provisions for care and maintenance of the convict's family, the court said Yadav did not give a single thought about it while committing the offence that they would suffer greatly due to his acts.
"Though monetary relief cannot be an adequate compensation for the helpless and innocent family members of the convict, yet having considered their plight in view of the offence committed by the convict and the sentence imposed upon him as a consequence thereof, I deem it appropriate to direct the DLSA to consider and make necessary provisions for care and maintenance of the old aged parents, wife and minor children of the convict," the judge said.
The court, which convicted Yadav on October 20, pronounced the sentence after hearing arguments of Special Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava and defence counsel D K Mishra.
The driver was also awarded varying jail terms for the offences under sections 376(2)(m)(while committing rape causes grievous bodily harm or disfigures or endangers life of a woman), 366 (abducting with an intent to compel her for marriage), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 323 (causing hurt) of the IPC. All sentences will run concurrently, meaning the convict will remain in jail for the rest of his life.
Expressing satisfaction with the punishment, Shrivastava said he was happy with the sentence and it was a good thing for the society as the convict got what he deserved.
The police team which probed the case, including ACP Shweta Chauhan, SHO of Sarai Rohilla Police Station Anil Dureja, Inspector Devender Rathi and sub inspector and IO Renu were also overjoyed with the verdict and said their hard work had paid off.
Defence counsel Mishra, however, said its was not the end of the road and he would approach the high court with an appeal against the verdict for justice to his client.
"It is disproportionate sentencing to the facts of the case. I will surely challenge it before the Delhi High Court," he said.
During arguments on quantum of sentence, the prosecutor sought maximum punishment, i.e., imprisonment till remaining life for Yadav.
He said Yadav has previous involvements in criminal cases and by means of sentencing, a message should be sent to the society so that no person commits such crime again.
"Rape murders soul of a person. We need to see the manner in which the act was executed. Only the woman is not the victim but the whole society is victim here. So, I request that maximum punishment is given to him," Srivastava said.
Seeking leniency for the convict, Mishra submitted that 10-years' punishment would be enough to instil fear in the mind of society and there is nobody to support his aged parents, wife and three minor children.
"Maximum sentence of life imprisonment till natural death is not warranted in this case as it is worse than capital punishment. It is my perception that Yadav has changed during the trial and there are chances of his reformation," the counsel said.
In its 99-page judgement, the special fast track court set up to deal with cases of sexual offences against women has said the victim was reminded of the horrific December 16, 2012 gangrape incident after the driver of the US-based taxi hailing service provider had threatened to insert an iron rod into her body.
The court has held that threat perception was very much eal in the mind of the victim when the driver had intimidated and threatened her, that too at an isolated spot, in the late hours of December 5, 2014 night.
On January 15, the trial in the case had commenced with the recording of the victim's statement.
The prosecution, which had examined 28 witnesses, had concluded its evidence in 17 days, while Yadav had not examined any witness in his defence.
The trial was stayed by the Supreme Court for six months after the victim had challenged a Delhi High Court order permitting the accused to recall 13 prosecution witnesses including her. The order was later set aside by the apex court.