"The 'nyay devta' has set a new example for such culprits that if you commit such a heinous crime, then you will get a stringent punishment," the minister said.
Shinde was speaking after the four convicts - Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Mukesh Singh and Pawan Gupta - in the December 16, 2012 gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student inside a private bus in Delhi were sentenced to death by the Saket fast track trial court.
"There was an atmosphere in the country after this incident....We expected such a punishment," he said.
Apparently referring to defence counsel AP Singh's claim that the verdict was delivered under political pressure, Shinde said, "The judiciary follows the law and not political pressure."
Shinde referred to the new legislation based on the Justice Verma Committee report which recommended amendments to the criminal law so as to provide for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women. The panel headed by former chief justice of India JS Verma was formed in the wake of the shocking Delhi gangrape incident.
"The new law has provision for hanging in rarest of rare cases," he said.