The December 16 gangrape and brutal murder of 23-year-old Delhi girl was described on Friday by the Supreme Court as the 'most horrendous crime of recent days.'
A bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai, referred to the gangrape incident while hearing a PIL on encounter killings in Manipur and said the accused has to be prosecuted in accordance with the rule of law.
"It is the most horrendous crime of recent days but even in that case accused cannot be lynched," the bench said while objecting to the contentions of the Manipur government which tried to justify the encounter killings saying that the people there are involved in anti-national activities.
"In this country, as long as we are here and the Rule of Law is here, we cannot allow gun shot for accused," the bench said, taking exception to the government's contention for terming the families of the victims of encounter killings as anti-national.
"I am taking strong exception to your contention. How can you term the petitioners anti-national without any evidence? Nationalism is not a monopoly of the state. You do not have the authority to term them ant-national just because you are a state. These are the allegations which make people anti-national," the bench said.
"Do not raise finger at them? Why do they have to prove their credentials for nationalism? We grieve equally for the death of security personnel and common man," the bench said.
The bench again referred Delhi gang rape case while asking the lawyers not to mention the word juvenile for minor accused.
"Juvenile is not a good description. We saw in recent case. Juvenile commits such crime. He is just a person," the bench said when the petitioner contended that a juvenile was killed in a fake encounter in Manipur.
Observing on terrorist activities, the bench remarked, "In this country, it is misfortune to see that a Prime Minister and an ex-Prime Minister got killed but that does not give us the right to lynch the accused."