All the four December gangrape and murder convicts, popularly called the Nirbhaya Case, have been sentenced to death by the Saket fast track court. After the sentencing, all convicts broke down in the courtroom while anti-rape protesters celebrated outside the court complex. The death penalty has been awarded under Section 302 (murder) as the victim had died due to the grievous injuries inflicted by the convicts. The Judge Yogesh Khanna termed it a rarest of rare case, conisdering the gravity of the offence and inhuman torture.
"In these times when crime against women is on the rise, the courts cannot turn a blind eye towards such barbaric and gruesome crime. There cannot be any tolerance. This crime in every way falls within the rarest of rare category warranting a death sentence," says the judgement. The sentencing comes nine months after the extremely brutal gangrape and murder of the Delhi braveheart which shook the national conscience and led to massive protests forcing the government to change the anti-rape laws. Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Mukesh Singh and Pawan Gupta had been held guilty on all counts including gangrape, murder, unnatural offence, dacoity, kidnapping and destruction of evidence on September 10 and the arguments over the sentencing concluded the next day. The court, while convicting the four, had said that the injuries clearly show that the intention was not only to rape but also to kill the girl and their actions were premeditated. The court found all four to be participants in the assault, quashing the question of who committed rape and who didn't. Initially, six men had been arrested for the heinous crime but one accused Ram Singh was found dead in Tihar Jail. Another accused was a minor and could be given the maximum possible punishment of three years only in a reform home.