Almost nine months after a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern was gang-raped in a moving bus in south Delhi, a fast-track court on Friday sentenced the four guilty men to death.
“Accordingly, the convicts be hanged by neck till they are dead,” Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna said, while delivering the 20-page order at Saket Court.
Khanna sentenced Akshay Thakur, 28, Mukesh, 26, Vinay Sharma, 20, and Pawan Gupta, 19, to death for offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.
It was noted that the gravity of the incident depicted the hair-raising, beastly and unparalleled behaviour of the depraved men.
Subjecting the victim to inhuman acts of torture before her death had not only shocked the collective conscience of the nation, but also called for the withdrawal of the protective arm of the community around the convicts.
“This ghastly act definitely fits this case in the bracket of rarest of rare cases,” the court added.
Khanna said he has to look into factors like society’s abhorrence, extreme indignation and antipathy to certain types of cases. “These are times when gruesome crimes against women have become rampant and courts cannot turn a blind eye to the need to send a strong deterrent message to the perpetrators of such crimes,” Khanna said.
The court made it clear that the increasing trend of crimes against women can be curtailed only if society realises that there will be no tolerance to any form of violence against women. “Hence, the criminal justice system must instil confidence in the minds of people, especially women,” Khanna said, and added that such crimes require exemplary punishment.
While applying the test of rarest of rare, the court said facts show that the victim’s intestine was perforated, splayed and cut open.
“The convicts, in the most barbaric manner, pulled out her internal organs with their bare hands as well as by rods and caused her irreparable injuries, thus exhibiting extreme mental perversion not worthy of human condonation,” Khanna added.
It was stressed that the unprovoked crime demonstrated exceptional depravity of the minds of the convicts. “It rather shows the beastly behaviour of the convicts,” Khanna said.
The victim was gang-raped when she, along with a male friend, was on her way home on December 16, 2012, after watching “Life of Pi” in Saket. They boarded a chartered bus, driven by the convicts, at Munirka for Dwarka at 9:30 pm.
The victim’s friend became suspicious when the bus deviated from its normal route and the doors were shut.
When he tried to intervene, he was beaten up, gagged and knocked unconscious with an iron rod. The convicts then dragged the victim to the rear of the bus, beating her with the rod, and raped her. The victim and her friend were later thrown out of the moving bus. The victim succumbed to injuries at Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital on December 29, 2012.
The post-mortem report revealed that, besides serious injuries, bite marks were observed on her face, lips, jaw, near ear, breasts, left upper arm, right lower limb, right upper inner thigh, right lower thigh, left thigh lateral and left lower anterior.
“Her intestines were severely damaged and the suffering inflicted on the prosecutrix was unparalleled. The brutality caused to her internal organs is extreme as is evident from the medical evidence on record and hence the act of convicts call for extreme penalty,” Khanna added.
The convicts can file an appeal within 30 days as per Article 115 of the Limitation Act, 1963.
Proceedings against the fifth accused, Ram Singh, was abated after he committed suicide in Tihar Jail. The sixth accused, a juvenile, was convicted of rape and murder and given the maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment in a reform facility by the Juvenile Justice Board.