Delhi Uber driver found guilty of rape

Shiv Kumar Yadav (centre) was tried by a fast-track court, which found him guilty of rape, kidnapping, assault and criminal intimidation. He faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Shiv Kumar Yadav (centre) was tried by a fast-track court, which found him guilty of rape, kidnapping, assault and criminal intimidation. He faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Indian activists hail verdict as important instance of speedy justice in such cases

An Uber taxi driver faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment after he was convicted yesterday of raping a 27-year-old female passenger in Delhi last December.

Activists immediately hailed the verdict as an important instance of speedy justice that they have been calling for in rape cases.

Shiv Kumar Yadav, 32, was tried by a fast-track court, which found him guilty of rape, kidnapping, assault and criminal intimidation. It is scheduled to sentence him on Friday. He faces at least seven years' jail.

The court heard that the woman, a finance executive, had used the taxi hailing app to book a cab to return home after dinner with friends on Dec 5 last year .

She fell asleep during the ride and woke up to find that Yadav had driven to a secluded spot where he assaulted and raped her. He dropped her off near her home. The cabby was arrested two days later in the city of Mathura, 162km from Delhi.

  • RISE IN DELHI RAPE CASES

  • 1,441

    Number of rape cases in Delhi in 2013

    1,813

    Number of rape cases in the capital city in 2014

"He has been convicted of all the sections for which he was charged," defence lawyer Dharmender Kumar Mishra told reporters outside the court.

Delhi, the capital city of India, has been under the spotlight for sexual crimes and lack of safety for women since the 2012 fatal gang rape of a physiotherapy student.

The case shook the country and led to the tightening of rape laws, including the introduction of the death penalty for serial rapists and the setting up of fast-track courts.

In spite of the uproar, the city has struggled to shed its image as the country's rape capital, recording 1,441 rape cases in 2013 and 1,813 cases last year. Over the past week alone, three young children were reported raped, one of them a toddler.

The Delhi government on Monday announced the setting up of a panel of ministers to look into boosting security for women. The panel would start off by looking into the backlog of rape cases still languishing in the courts.

Uber was banned from operating in Delhi immediately after the attack and criticised for failing to conduct adequate background checks. It turned out that Yadav had been accused of assaulting other women though he was never convicted.

The woman later sued Uber in a San Francisco court. The case was settled out of court.

The ban on Uber was lifted by the Delhi High Court in July.

Uber India president Amit Jain said in a statement after yesterday's verdict that the company was "pleased he has now been brought to justice". He added that while the company had made many improvements since the incident, "Uber can always do better".

Activists, in hailing the verdict, said it was important that all rape cases be dealt with speedily.

"I am glad there is a conviction. At least there is some sense of justice and closure in this case for that survivor. She was very courageous in speaking out," said Ms Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All-India Progressive Women's Association.

"Certainly not all cases are fast-tracked. Only selective cases have been fast-tracked... We need many more courts and judges."

Dr Ranajan Kumari, a women's rights activist and director of the New Delhi-based Centre for Social Research, said: "Speedy justice is the way to go. Otherwise there is no way of stopping crimes against women."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2015, with the headline 'Delhi Uber driver found guilty of rape'. Print Edition | Subscribe