Nirbhaya Gangrape and Murder Case: A Timeline of Events

On Monday, a Delhi trial court issued fresh death warrants for the execution of the four convicts.

New Delhi: It has now been more than seven years since the brutal gangrape and murder of Nirbhaya, which spurred protests across the country and more stringent anti-rape legislation. Four men convicted in the case are currently on death row, and are supposed to be hanged on January 22.

The Supreme Court has refused to stay the executions.

The Wire brings you a timeline of the case, detailing how it has unfolded over the last seven years.


December 16, 2012: Nirbhaya and her friend Awindra Pratap Pandey board a charter bus from Munirka bus stand to reach their home in Dwarka.

Nirbhaya is taken to the rear of the moving bus and gangraped by six men including the driver, present in the bus. As she resists, one of the attackers inserts a rod into her vagina, pulling and ripping her intestines apart.

Pandey is also assaulted while resisting the attack on Singh. The two are later thrown out of the bus. After the Delhi police are informed of the incident by Raj Kumar, a police control room van comes and takes them to the Safdarjung Hospital on the same night.

Nirbhaya’s statement is recorded by Rashmi Ahuja. This is considered as the first dying declaration.

December 17, 2012: The accused are identified as Ram Singh (driver), Mukesh, Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta.

An FIR is registered at the Vasant Vihar police station after Pandey gives a statement to police.

Singh is arrested. He accepts his involvement and gives details of the crime.

December 18, 2012: Widespread protests erupt as news of the incident spreads. Accused Ram Singh leads Delhi police to the arrest of Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta. Mukesh is apprehended from Karoli, Rajasthan.

December 19, 2012: Metropolitan magistrate Sandeep Garg initiates test identification parade proceedings against the accused Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta but they refuse to participate.

December 20, 2012: Pandey identifies the accused Mukesh in the test identification parade proceedings at Tihar Jail.

December 21, 2012: The fifth accused in the case, a juvenile, is arrested from the Anand Vihar bus terminal in Delhi.

The sixth accused Akshay Kumar Singh alias Thakur is arrested from Karmalahang village in Aurangabad, Bihar and brought to Delhi.

The Sub-Divisional Magistrate Usha Chaturvedi records Nirbhaya’s statement in the hospital.

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December 25, 2012: On an application by the investigating officer, Metropolitan Magistrate Pawan Kumar records Nirbhaya’s statement through gestures, under section 164 of the code of criminal procedure (CrPC)

December 26, 2012: Nirbhaya’s condition deteriorates at Safdarjung hospital. The team of doctors, comprising of Sandeep Bansal, Raj Kumar Chejara, Sunil Kumar, Arun Batra and P.K. Verma, decide to shift her abroad for treatment.

The accused Akshay Kumar Singh is identified by Pandey in the test identification parade proceedings.

December 27, 2012: Nirbhaya is sent to the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

December 29, 2012: Nirbhaya succumbs to her injuries. Murder charges are added to FIR.

January 3, 2013: The chargesheet is filed against the five accused under various sections of the Indian Penal Code dealing with murder, gang-rape, attempt to murder, kidnapping, unnatural offences and dacoity.

January 4, 2013: A supplementary chargesheet is filed.

The case is committed to the court of session.

March 11, 2013: Accused Ram Singh commits suicide in Tihar Jail.

Protesters hold a sign as they participate in a demonstration to mourn the death of a rape victim, who was assaulted in New Delhi, in Mumbai December 29, 2012. Photo: Reuters/Vivek Prakash

August 31, 2013: The Juvenile Justice Board sends the juvenile to three years imprisonment.

September 10, 2013: Session Judge convicts Akshay Kumar Singh, Vinay Sharma, Mukesh, Pawan Gupta under sections 302 (punishment for murder), 120-B (punishment for criminal conspiracy), 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine), 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her to marry) 376(2)(g) (punishment for rape committed during communal or sectarian violence), 377 (unnatural offences), 307 (attempt to murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence), 395 (punishment for dacoity), 397 (robbery or dacoity with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt), 412 (dishonestly receiving property stolen in the commission of dacoity) and sentenced them to death under the charge of murder.

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October 12, 2013: Proceedings against Ram Singh are abated.

March 13, 2014: Delhi high court confirms the death penalty.

March 15, 2014: Supreme Court bench stays the execution of the death sentence upon appeal presented by the convicts.

December 20, 2015: Juvenile is released from the correction home.

May 5, 2017: Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice Dipak Mishra, upholds the Delhi high court decision, which had sentenced four convicts – Akshay Kumar Singh, Mukesh, Vinay Kumar and Pawan Gupta – to death.

November 9, 2017: Mukesh files a review petition in the Supreme Court.

December 15, 2017: Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta file a review petition in the Supreme Court.

July 9, 2018: Supreme Court dismisses the review petition.

October 29, 2019: Tihar Jail informs the convicts that they have only seven days from the receipt of the notice to file mercy petitions.

8 November 2019: Convict Vinay Sharma files a mercy petition before President Ram Nath Kovind.

December 1, 2019: Delhi government recommends the rejection of Vinay Sharma’s mercy petition.

December 2, 2019: LG Anil Baijal recommends the rejection of Vinay Sharma’s mercy petition.

December 10, 2019: Akshay Kumar Singh files a review petition in the Supreme Court.

December 13, 2019: Nirbhaya’s mother moves the Supreme Court opposing the review filed by the death row convicts.

December 18, 2019: SC rejects the review petition filed by the fourth death row convict Akshay Kumar Singh.

Also read: Seven Reasons Why We Shouldn’t Demand the Death Penalty for Rape

December 19, 2019: Delhi HC dismisses convict Pawan Gupta’s plea claiming that he was a juvenile during the gang-rape in 2012.

January 7, 2020: Patiala house court issued a death warrant against the four convicts to be hanged till death on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar Jail.

January 14, 2020: A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justices N.V. Ramana, Arun Mishra, RF Nariman, R. Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan reject the curative petitions filed by two convicts – Mukesh Kumar and Vinay Sharma – in the Nirbhaya rape and murder case. Mukesh then files a mercy plea before the president.

January 17, 2020: President Ram Nath Kovind rejects mercy plea of Mukesh Kumar.

January 25, 2020: Mukesh Kumar moves the Supreme Court against the rejection of his mercy plea.

January 28, 2020: Convict Akshay Kumar approaches the Supreme Court with a curative petition

January 29, 2020: After reserving verdict on January 28, the apex court hears rejects his petition.

January 30, 2020: Supreme Court rejects Akshay Kumar’s curative petition.

January 31, 2020: Delhi trial court suspends death warrants until further orders because mercy petitions of Vinay Sharma and Akshay Kumar are pending.

February 1, 2020: President Kovind rejects Vinay Sharma’s mercy petition.

February 5, 2020: President Kovind rejects Akshay Kumar’s petition. The Delhi high court affirms the stay on execution, but directs convicts to exhaust legal remedies within a week. On the same day, the Centre and Delhi governments move the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi HC’s order that all convicts must be hanged together.

February 11, 2020: Supreme Court allows Centre to approach trial court seeking issuance of a fresh date for the execution of the death sentence of the Nirbhaya gangrape convicts.

February 14, 2020: Supreme Court rejects Vinay Sharma’s appeal against rejection of mercy petition.

February 17, 2020: Trial court issues fresh death warrants for the execution of the four convicts on March 3, at 6 am.

Note: This article was first published on January 15, 2020 and was updated on February 17, 2020.