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Published On: Fri, May 5th, 2017

Nirbhaya Gangrape Case: Supreme Court Confirms Death To 4 Convicts

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407069-nirbhaya-mother-ptiNEW DELHI : Nearly five years after 23-year-old medical student on her way home from a movie was gang-raped and tortured on a moving bus in Delhi, the Supreme Court has confirmed death for four convicts on Friday.
“She was reduced to an object for their gross sadistic pleasures. They played with her dignity in a devilish manner”, the Supreme Court said.”The crime was a devastation of social trust,” it added. The brutal crime against the 23-year-old victim had provoked national outrage and demand for a more stringent law to deal with sex crimes against women.
The victim was assaulted and raped by six persons in a moving bus in south Delhi and thrown out of the vehicle along with her male friend on December 16 night. She later died in a Singapore hospital. In 2013, Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013 or the Anti-Rape Bill, which was later called the Nirbhaya Act, came into existence.
The new law mandated death penalty under Section 376A of the Indian Penal Code.Under Section 376A, whoever commits rape, which leads to the death of the victim or causes her to be in a “persistent vegetative state,” shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a minimum term of 20 years which may extend to life or with death.
The three-judge Bench led by Justice Dipak Misra wrapped up the marathon hearings on their appeals on March 27. The appeals were heard for almost a year on a day-to-day basis.The arguments ended with senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the Delhi Police, strongly pushing for death penalty for the convicts as a proportionate punishment for their “brutal crime.”
Amicus curiae
 and senior advocate Raju Ramachandran had, however, opposed, asking the court to consider sentencing the convicts to a life in prison.Incidentally, the Bench had prima facie agreed with the contention of the amicus that Section 235 of the Code of Criminal Procedure — which provides that a trial court should individually hear a convict before sentencing him — was not followed in this case.

A trial court had ruled in 2013 that they should be hanged and the high court confirmed the sentence. But the four – Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh – challenged it in the Supreme Court.
On December 16 2012, the young woman and her friend boarded a bus in south Delhi, assured by the driver that they would be dropped off at their destination. The two were then attacked and the woman was gang-raped by six men, brutalized with an iron rod and her intestines were pulled out. She died in a Singapore hospital 13 days later.
“These men should be hanged. There is no crime more barbaric than this….I’m certain about that,” said the father of the woman, who came to be known as “Nirbhaya”.Ram Singh, the bus driver, was found hanging in his cell in Tihar jail in March 2013, months before they were convicted. Last August, Vinay Sharma had also allegedly tried to commit suicide. The sixth convict was just months short of 18 when he participated in the horrific crime.
He walked out of a correction home in December 2015 after spending three years – the maximum punishment for minors – sparking public outrage and an overhaul of the juvenile law. Now, a juvenile between 16 and 18 years can be treated as an adult if they commit a heinous crime.

In 2015, the four had also been sentenced to 10 years in jail for a robbery that the police was able to link to them after their arrest for the gang-rape. An appeal against this conviction is pending in the high court.

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