Let them hang: Supreme Court on Delhi rapists

Indian defence lawyer AP Singh representing men accused of gang raping and murdering a woman in 2012 talks to the media outside India's Supreme Court building in New Delhi

On December 16, 2012, six people gang-raped a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern in a moving bus in Delhi. Besides these two convicts, the apex court also rejected the review plea of another death-row convict Mukesh.

In their ruling, the Supreme Court judges had said they were upholding the death sentence after taking note of the serious injuries and the severe nature of the offence. The culprits arrested were Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, Ram Singh and another young man who was just short of his 18th birthday. Only three of them were involved in the appeal rejected on Monday by the Supreme Court.

"All the three dying declarations having been relied (on) by trial court, high court and this court and all arguments attacking the dying declarations having been considered and rejected, in its judgment dated May 5, 2017, we are of the view that the petitioner can not be allowed to re-agitate the same issues which were already considered and expressly rejected by this court", the bench, also comprising Justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan, said.

"The Supreme Court upholding its verdict is a strong message to those who commit such heinous crimes".

Indian defence lawyer AP Singh representing men accused of gang-raping and murdering a woman in 2012 talks to the media outside India's supreme court building in New Delhi on July 9, 2018.

"Even the Justice Verma Committee, whose recommendations were relied upon to reform the laws on sexual assault and rape, had opposed imposing the death penalty in cases of rape", Asmita Basu, Amnesty International India's Programmes director, was quoted by Business Standard as saying. Challenging the Supreme Court's verdict, Mukesh had a year ago filed a review petition alleging that the court had not properly examined crucial evidence in the case.

The crime shocked the nation's conscience, they said.

In the years since, women's advocates say that the Nirbhaya case raised awareness, prompting more women to come forward if they're abused or assaulted, with authorities responding to the concerns with more closed-circuit security cameras and fast track courts for crimes against women. She died on December 29 in a Singapore hospital where she was flown to by the government. However, the Centre amended the rape law to introduce the death penalty as the maximum punishment in gang rape cases. The Court had reserved its judgement in the matter on May 4 this year after hearing the arguments on behalf of the convicts.

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