“Death to all,” 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,” he said.
The offence committed by Mukesh (26), Akshay Thakur (28), Pawan Gupta (19) and Vinay Sharma (20) falls under the rarest of rare category warranting capital punishment, the judge said.
The four were convicted by the court on September 10 for the gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedic student.
“Court cannot turn a blind eye to such a gruesome act,” the judge said, while handing down the maximum punishment.
He said, “When crime against women is rising on day-to-day basis, so, at this point in time court cannot keep its eye shut.”
“There should be exemplary punishment in view of the unparallelled brutality with which the victim was gangraped and murdered, as the case falls under the rarest of rare category. All be given death,” the court said while reading out a portion of the order.
“This is a time when serious crime against a woman has come to the fore and now its judiciary’s responsibility to instill confidence among the women,” it said.
Besides murder, the four have been also convicted for offences including gangrape, unnatural offences, attempt to murder, dacoity, destruction of evidence, conspiracy, kidnapping or abducting in order to murder, while acquitting them of the charge of murder in dacoity.
Immediately after pronouncement of sentence, the victim’s mother expressed satisfaction over the verdict.
“’Halak mein saans atki thi, jo ab bahar nikli hai. Mein dhanywaad karti hu desh ke logon ka aur media ka’ (We were waiting with bated breath, now we are relieved. I thank the people of my country and the media),” she said.
Besides her, the victim’s father and two brothers were also present in the jam-packed court room when the sentence was pronounced.
Hearing that he will face the gallows, Vinay started crying in court while the other three convicts -- Mukesh, Pawan, Akshay -- started shouting for pardon, with one of the defence lawyers A.P. Singh also joining them in seeking mercy.
Advocate V K Anand, who appeared for Mukesh, said he has regard for the verdict and he will file an appeal in the Delhi High Court.
Special public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan said, “I have done my job and we (prosecution) are happy with the verdict.”
Soon after the verdict was delivered, people waiting outside the courtroom started clapping.