Indian Supreme Court orders Nirbhaya's rapists to hang

The mother of Nirbhaya, the woman who was gangraped and murdered here on December 16, 2012, today said her faith in the judiciary was reinstated after the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty for three of the four convicts in the case, while politicians and activists also hailed the development. It said in a review petition the petitioner can not be allowed to re-argue merits of the case by pointing out certain evidences and materials, which were on the record and were already looked into by the trial court, HC and this court as well.

A three-judge bench of Justices Dipak Misra, R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan in a unanimous verdict held Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur, Mukesh and Pawan Gupta guilty and awarded the death sentence to them saying that the brutal, barbaric and diabolic nature of the crime shook the conscience of humanity and they deserved the extreme punishment.

Three of the rest of the four convicts appealed to the Supreme Court to change its own death sentence into life imprisonment. However, the convicts still have judicial redressal for a re-examination of the dismissal of their appeals and review pleas by way of a curative petition, which is the last legal remedy left for curing the defects, if any, in a judgment. His lawyer had claimed that his client was being framed.

Nirbhaya, a 23-year-old paramedic, was brutally assaulted and gang-raped in a moving bus in south Delhi and thrown out of the vehicle with her male friend while returning home after watching a film on the night of December 16, 2012. The victim succumbed to her injuries two weeks later at a hospital in Singapore.

The court said Monday that the convicts failed to point out "error apparent on the face of record" in the verdict, according to the news agency. The sixth member was tried as a minor and sentenced to time in a correctional facility, while the four adults were sentenced to death in 2013, a ruling confirmed in 2014 by the Delhi high court.

"The review petition of all the three convicts has been rejected", A. P. Singh, a lawyer for the defendants, told reporters. It is unfortunate that they committed such crime.

The case put the treatment of women in India in the global spotlight and led to heavier sentences for sex crimes. A few months later, one of the accused, Ram Singh, was found dead in prison. "Instead, the government must allocate adequate resources for the effective implementation of laws, improve conviction rates and ensure certainty of justice in all cases", Asmita Basu, Amnesty International India's Programmes director, said.

Vanessa Coleman

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