South Delhi. December 16, 2012. A 23-year-old paramedical intern was beaten, raped and brutalised by five men and a juvenile on a bus. She died of internal wounds after being thrown out of the bus. The case inspired nationwide public protests and a demand for special measures on women’s safety. The death of Nirbhaya—or fearless, as she reportedly fought back against her attackers—forced the government to set up two inquiry commissions to look at the treatment of women in India, amend rape laws and fast-track trial of such cases.
December 2019. In the seven years since that horrific tragedy, the case lingers. Considered a fit case to be fast-tracked, it took four-and-a-half years for all the three courts—trial, high and supreme— to hear and pass their verdicts.