Death or life term, sentence on Friday

Death or life term, sentence on Friday

Death or life term, sentence on Friday

The quantum of punishment to the four convicts in the December 16 Delhi gang-rape case will be pronounced on Friday. The court reserved the order on Wednesday after hearing arguments of police and defence counsels.

A day after four accused – Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta, Mukesh Singh and Akshay Thakur – were found guilty of raping and killing a 23-year-old woman, the police sought death for the perpetrators who “violated the basic of a woman’s  existence.”    
Additional sessions judge Yogesh Khanna reserved the order after hearing the police and defence pleas for around three hours.

Arguing that the case falls under the “rarest of rare” category, special public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan said: “They lured two people into the bus, robbed and beat them, they raped the girl, they tortured and inserted iron rod when there was no space for escape for the victim, no space for hearing the victim’s plea, dragged them naked, threw them out and then tried to overrun them to kill. None among the six were moved by the girl’s cries for mercy.”

He demanded death for the four convicts, contending that there was no scope for reformation as the crime was not only “grotesque and diabolic in nature, but also a barbaric behaviour of the highest kind.”

“Their act has brought fear in society. People are outraged by the torture. If death is not given, society will lose faith in the judicial system. The society feels that no woman is safe in the country,” Krishnan added.  

Defence lawyers, however, pleaded for leniency, citing the convicts’ “tender age.”

Pawan Gupta’s counsel Vivek Sharma said: “The crime happened when Pawan was under the influence of alcohol. The crime may be shocking, but the criminal may not be awarded death. He is of a tender age and there is a chance for reformation and it should be considered. There is divinity in every human being. There was not a single complaint about the  conduct of Pawan during trial.”    

Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur’s counsel A K Singh started his argument quoting Mahatma Gandhi. “God gives life, God alone can take it,” he said. “Will killing rapists make streets safer for women? Will death penalty end crime? No. Vinay has no criminal history and despite being raised in J J cluster at Ravi Das camp, he managed to study and is presently a student of BA first year in Delhi University.”

He said Vinay is a law-abiding citizen and a victim of circumstances. “He has donated blood to unknown persons. How can he take á life?” Singh said.

Singh pleaded that Akshay came to Delhi to earn a living just two months before the incident. He does not even have a place to stay in the city.   He said: “They are no terrorists, but citizens of this country. When Indian Mujahideen member Shahzad Ahmad, involved in the Batla House encounter, got life term, why should the gang-rape convicts be considered for death?” Singh said the people in power wanted them to be hanged to get votes in the ensuing elections.

“Did death sentence for former prime minister Indira Gandhi’s killer, Beant Singh, prevent the killing of her son Rajiv Gandhi?” he added.

Mukesh’s counsel V K Anand said the accused were convicted since they were not defended properly during the trial. “We lawyers will be responsible for this,” Anand said. He said Mukesh cooperated with investigators and confessed to have driven the bus. “But he was not involved in the murder or gang-rape. He was drunk and not in the right state of mind. So, some error may have occurred,” said Anand.