New Delhi: In one of the most-awaited verdicts, the Supreme Court on Friday upheld the death sentences of four men convicted of the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedical student on December 16, 2012. The case had triggered global outrage.
As the SC concluded the pronouncement of the verdict, loud applause and someone shouting "they should be castrated first" were heard in the courtroom.
The bench - comprising Justices Dipak Misra, R Banumathi, and Ashok Bhushan - explained the crime met the "rarest of the rare" standard required to justify capital punishment in India.
It took 27 minutes for Justice Dipak Misra to deliver the main judgement, sealing the fate of the four convicts by upholding the death sentence awarded to them by the trial court and the Delhi High Court.
In the 17th minute, Justice Misra read out the concluding part stating that Delhi High Court has correctly confirmed the death penalty.
Applause broke out in court among relatives of the victim as the bench explained the crime met the "rarest of the rare" standard required to justify capital punishment in India.
The judge simply raised his hands to signal them to maintain silence and continued for two more minutes to conclude reading the operative portion of 315-page judgement penned by him, for himself and Justice Ashok Bhushan.
At 2.18 pm, Justices Misra and Bhushan signed the verdict after which Justice R Banumathi started to read out her separate and concurring judgement.
She completed reading her judgement in nine minutes and as the three judges rose to leave the dais, a woman from the gallery shouted "they (convicts) should be castrated first".
This is what the Supreme Court noted while rejecting an appeal against the death penalty:
- Justice Dipak Misra, who read the operative portion of the judgement, said the offence created a "tsunami of shock".
- The Supreme Court said the 23-year-old woman had suffered a "devastating hour of darkness".
- "The present case clearly comes within the category of 'rarest of rare case' where the question of any other punishment is unquestionably foreclosed. If at all there is a case warranting an award of a death sentence, it is the present case," said Judge R Banumathi, who wrote a separate but concurring verdict.
- "If the dreadfulness displayed by accused in committing the gang-rape, unnatural sex, insertion of an iron rod in the private parts of the victim does not fall in the 'rarest of rare category', then one may wonder what else would fall into that category," Justice Banumathi said.
- "Human lust was allowed to take such a demonic form. The accused may not be hardened criminals; but the cruel manner in which the gang-rape was committed in the moving bus; iron rods were inserted into the private parts of the victim; and the coldness with which both the victims were thrown naked in cold wintery night of December, shocks the collective conscience of the society," Justice Banumathi said.
- "Rape deeply affects the entire psychology of a woman and humiliates her, apart from leaving her in a trauma. The testimony of the rape victim must be appreciated in the background of the entire case and the trauma which she had undergone," Justice Banumathi said.
- The apex court said the convicts had treated the victim as an object of enjoyment, with the single purpose of ravishing her.
- The court termed the incident as "most brutal, barbaric and diabolical attack" on the victim.
- Describing it as a crime of "mental perversion and extreme brutality" wherein the entire intestine of the victim was perforated" in the "most savage and inhuman manner", Justice Misra said: "It is a story from a different world where there is irreverence for human beings."
- The court said it was taking note of the "brutal, demoniacal conduct of the convicts... and they don't deserve leniency".