Stressing on the need to send a strong deterrent message to curb the rise in gruesome crimes against women,a special court Friday sentenced all four convicts in the December 16 Delhi gangrape case to death.
The proceedings in the Saket court lasted barely two minutes as Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna announced the sentence in a room filled with lawyers,police officers and journalists. Hundreds of people waited outside.
But it sparked a display of contrasting emotions inside the court room as well as outside in a case that made global headlines and focused the spotlight on crimes against women.
These are the 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 increasing trend of crimes against women can be arrested only once the society realizes that there will be no tolerance from any form of deviance against women.
The convicts,namely,convict Akshay Kumar Singh alias Thakur,convict Mukesh,convict Vinay Sharma and convict Pawan Gupta alias Kaalu are sentenced to death for offence punishable under section 302 Indian Penal Code, Khanna said,reading out an excerpt from his order.
The announcement was followed by a loud wail from Vinay Sharma.
Judge sahib,yeh kya kiya (Judge sir,what have you done), 20-year-old Vinay said. He and Pawan,19,broke down in tears. The family of the 23-year-old victim a paramedical student who was gangraped and brutalised in a moving bus and succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital smiled through teary eyes and thanked the police,lawyers and the media.
I can finally breathe, said her mother.
In its 17-page order justifying capital punishment for the four men,the court said the unprovoked crime demonstrated exceptional depravity of mind of the convicts. It said the criminal justice system must instill confidence in the minds of people,especially women,more so in extreme cases of brutality such as the present one.
The crime of such nature against a helpless women,per se,requires exemplary punishment, Khanna said.
In his order,the judge took note of the arguments of the defence lawyers who had asked for the more lenient sentence of life imprisonment. He dismissed the factors of age and social background of the convicts and also the plea that they had not committed any other crime.
The court referred to the convicts allegedly robbing carpenter Ramadhar hours before the gangrape and said the incident belies the claim of the convicts that they had clean antecedents.
Besides being sentenced to life imprisonment for gangrape and criminal conspiracy,the convicts were also fined Rs 55,000 each.
As the order was pronounced,A P Singh,counsel for Akshay and Vinay,loudly condemned the death penalty and claimed that media and public sentiment had overruled the law. This is not satyamev jayate (truth always wins),this is jhooth-mev jayate (falsehood wins) and vote bank-ev jayate (vote bank wins), shouted Singh.
The four convicts,who were sobbing loudly after the verdict,were quickly escorted out of the courtroom.
Mukeshs lawyer V K Anand said the defence would go in appeal soon.
The victims brothers were smiling and shaking hands with the police and said they were relieved that the convicts had got the punishment they deserved.
Special prosecutor Dayan Krishnan said he had done his job and was happy and hoped the sentence would act as a deterrent.
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