Uber driver jailed for life in India

  • 04/11/2015
Delhi Police (Reuters)
Delhi Police (Reuters)

An Indian court has sentenced an Uber driver to life in prison for raping a young woman passenger in New Delhi, a case that inflamed fears over sexual violence in the capital.

The Delhi court last month convicted Shiv Kumar Yadav of raping and abducting the 25-year-old passenger as she returned home from dinner with friends in December.

Yadav, dressed in a white checked shirt, wiped tears from his cheeks as the judge read out the sentencing, the maximum possible jail term for rape.

"He will serve regressive imprisonment, which shall mean imprisonment til natural death," judge Kaveri Baweja told the court in New Delhi.

Yadav was convicted last month of four charges - rape, abduction, intimidation and causing harm - and the prosecution had been expected to argue for the maximum punishment of life in jail.

California-based Uber was accused of failing to conduct adequate background checks after it emerged that Yadav had been accused of assaulting other women, although he had no previous convictions.

The company was officially banned from Delhi in the aftermath of the attack, but the ban has not been strictly enforced and Uber cars continue to operate in the capital.

The former Uber driver was tried by one of the fast-track courts introduced in 2013 following the fatal gang-rape of a student on a bus in Delhi, a crime that sparked nationwide protests about women's safety.

The rape occurred days before the second anniversary of that now notorious attack, which earned Delhi the title of India's "rape capital", and returned the issue of violence against women to the spotlight.

India recorded 36,735 rape cases in 2014, with 2096 of them in Delhi alone. Experts say those figures are likely to represent only the tip of the iceberg.

Defence lawyer Dharmender Kumar Mishra has already said his client would appeal the verdict, calling the investigation "flawed".