The defence lawyer of two convicts in the Dec 16, 2012 gang- rape has been flayed for terming the verdict politically and emotionally driven and that he would have burnt his daughter alive had she been involved in pre-marital sex and were she to step out with boyfriends at night. The Bar Council of Delhi has taken a serious view of lawyer A.P. Singh’s statement to the media saying the judgement was coloured with other considerations and he would have burnt his daughter if she had been involved in ex-marital sex and roamed at night with her friends.  Singh, lawyer for Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur, had even questioned whether such a stringent sentence would actually act as deterrent and stop incidents of rape in the city. Singh on Friday told mediapersons that in response to a poser by the court he had said that ‘…if my daughter was having pre-marital sex and moving around at night with her boyfriend, I would have burnt her alive. I would not have let this situation happen…’ The poser from the court was apparently in the context of Delhi gang rape victim.

Council secretary Murari Tiwari told IANS that the council was a statutory body mandated to ensure its members did not behave in a manner unbecoming of lawyers. Lawyers can’t conduct themselves in an undignified manner and use language that lowers the esteem of the legal profession. ‘We have a code of conduct and professional ethics to follow,’ Tiwari said adding it was unbecoming of Singh to cast aspersion on the verdict before the media. ‘We condemn his statement and would seek his explanation,’ he said.

‘Everything that Singh had said would be taken up when he personally appears before the council,’ said Tiwari. Meanwhile, the council has asked organisations representing social groups, who are up in arms over Singh’s statement, to send their complaints in writing. A social activist said when Singh does not respect the freedom of his own daughter, what respect he will have for other human’s rights.

Health.India.Com view

It’s simply shocking that a man who played  a prominent role in such a sensitive case can make such crude remarks but perhaps that’s the reality that we Indians have to face and realise battle for women’s safety is far from over. If dresses or women drinking alcohol or premarital sex was the issue how do you explain the fact that five-year-olds are brutally raped? . We have to realise that a short dress, roaming around at night alone or even the choice to have consensual sex, doesn’t give men the right to violate women. It’s completely her choice who she wishes to be intimate with and the entire nation needs to learn to respect her wishes.  The problem is that our collective national consciousness doesn’t recognise women as equals. They’re killed off even before they’re born and treated as second class citizens all their life. Think about it, when ever have you heard an argument that fights for the rights of the ‘daughters of the soil’? The truth is that rape doesn’t have anything to do with sex whatsoever and is actually a crime of violence. Until we realise the real issue at hand, there will not be an arrest in the rate of sexual crimes in women. (Read: India – no country for women)

Delhi Gang Rape Timeline

Dec 16: A 23-year-old physiotherapy student is brutally raped in a bus in Delhi. Victim admitted to Safdarjung Hospital by the police.

Dec 17: Bus driver Ram Singh and two others arrested.

Dec 18: Public sentiment boils over leading to huge demonstrations as protesters clash with police at various places. Fourth accused arrested.

Dec 19: Doctors treating the girl comment about her unstable condition though she manages to communicate with docs by writing.

Dec 20: Students of various universities protest outside CM Sheila Dixit’s residence

Dec 21:  The fifth accused, a juvenile is arrested and one of the culprits is identified by the victim’s male friend in Tihar. Delhi Police starts search operation in Haryana and Bihar for another accused.  Sir Ganga Ram Hospital chairman offers victim free intestinal transplant, an offer which is considered a publicity stunt by many since the victim’s not stable enough for one

Dec 23: Delhi High Court sets up fast track court

Dec 24: PM Manmohan Singh requests people to keep calm and suffers a major faux paus as he’s heard off-camera asking people Thik Hai?

 Dec 26: Government decides to fly victim to Singapore for further treatment which raises questions about whether she would survive the journey and why she wasn’t taken to a better facility in Delhi like AIIMS which is just around the corner.

Dec 27: She’s airlifted to Singapore

Dec 29: She succumbs to her injuries at 4:45 AM

Dec 30: Her body is flown back to Delhi

Jan 1: Special task-force to deal with women’s safety in Delhi icreated

Jan 3: A case of rape, murder, kidnapping, destruction of evidence, and attempted murder on the male victim is filed against all the five accused in the case.

Jan 5: Her friend gives an interview to Zee News which documents their ordeal including public and police apathy to their plight

Jan 9: The accused demand legal representation; lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma fights their case

Jan 10: Sharma declares victims were responsible for their predicament.

Jan 28: The Juvenile Justice Board declares that one of the six accused is a minor despite no strong evidence to suggest it. Age-testing is ruled out.

Feb 3: The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013, with suggestions from the Verma Committee Report introduced.

Feb 5: The trial starts

March 11: The main accused, Ram Singh is found hanging in his jail cell that he shared with two other accused.

April 4: One of the accused claims Tihar guards harassing him

April 11: Vinay’s counsel claims two of the accused were not present on the bus

May 1:  Defence harasses male friend by claiming he’s a womaniser

 May 10: Vinay and Akshay’s advocate AP Singh asks for male friend to undergo polygraph test

June 4: Juvenile accused turns 18 according to school certificate

July 11: Juvenile board defers judgement till July 25 to decide whether to try the minor in the case as an adult or a minor. 

July 18: Supreme Court refuses to reduce the juvenile age to 16

August 31:  Juvenile found guilty of rape and murder, sentenced to three years in a reform home. 

September 9: Court finds other four accused guilty of rape and murder. 

September 10: Delhi gang rape convicts to be sentenced on Friday.

September 13: Death penalty for all four involved in the attack

With inputs from IANS