New Delhi: Four of the accused in the Delhi gang rape case - Mukesh (26), Akshay Thakur (28), Pawan Gupta (19) and Vinay Sharma (20) - have been handed the death sentence.
"Death to all," said Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna said while delivering the verdict in the case that had evoked nationwide outrage and led the government to bring in a stringent anti-rape law. "Besides discussing others offences, I straightaway come to section 302 (murder) of IPC. This falls under inhuman nature of the convicts and the gravity of offence they committed cannot be tolerated. Death sentence is given to all the four convicts."
This after arguments over two hours on Wednesday by the defence lawyers who were trying their best to obtain a jail sentence after the prosecution made it clear that they will not settle for anything less than death penalties for all the four accused.
The arguments for leniency bordered on some solid arguments to desperate pleas for mercy:
Here were the top 10 arguments made by the defense team:
1) Batla house accused got life; was let off due to politics, why death for these rape accused now?
2) Why Parliamentarians accused in dacoity, rape and murder are not tried by fast-track courts?
3) Poor get jailed as they can't hire good lawyers. Judge replied, "why say now after the trial"
4) Crime not pre-meditated and happened at the spur of the moment. Court should be lenient as the accused is very young
5) Convict Vinay Sharma is a good student and has applied for the Air Force.He did not commit the crime
6) Akshay is responsible for his ill parents, wife and child. He should be shown mercy.
7) Convict Mukesh Singh's lawyer says, 'Yeh baade bhai (Ram singh who committed suicide) ke chakkar mein phans gaya"
8) Invoking Mahatma Gandhi's name, lawyer A P Singh says "God gives life and he alone can take it and not man-made courts"
9) Life imprisonment is the rule and death penalty is an exception.
10) Death is irreversible; purpose of justice is reform and reconciliation