The Supreme Court will on Friday pronounce its verdict on appeals by the four convicts of December 16, 2012 gangrape and murder case against the death sentences awarded to them. The court had stayed the execution of the convicts three years ago.
The 2012 incident led to large scale protests across the country, forcing the then government to make strict and punitive laws related to harassment of women.
A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra had, in March this year, reserved the verdict after hearing the matter that was spread almost for a year.
Accused Mukesh, Pawan, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur had moved the top court challenging the High Court’s March 13, 2014 verdict, which upheld their death sentences by a trial court.
The top court had stayed the death sentence on Mukesh and Pawan on March 15, 2014 and that of Sharma and Thakur on June 3, 2014. Hearing on the appeals by the four against the High Court order upholding their death sentence had commenced on April 4, 2016.
Six people gangraped a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern in a moving bus on December 16, 2012. The woman succumbed to her injuries at a Singapore hospital on 13 days later.
One of the accused, Ram Singh, allegedly hanged himself in prison.
On August 31, 2013, the Juvenile Justice Board sentenced the minor accused to a three-year stay in a special home for gangrape and murder of the girl.The juvenile, now 21 years old, was released from the reformation home in November 2015.
While upholding the conviction and death sentence of the remaining four, the High Court had said, “Society’s abhorrence to atrocious crimes perpetrated upon innocent and helpless victims has resulted in the death penalty being retained on the statute book to remind such criminals that human life is very precious and one who dares to take the life of others must lose his own life.”
In March this year, the SC had also sought a report on the conduct in prison of the four death row convicts from Delhi’s Tihar Jail superintendent.
Earlier, the SC had told senior advocates Sanjay Hedge and Raju Ramachandran to assist the court because the lawyer the accused hired were unable to argue well.
Later, Ramachandran represented Mukesh (29) and Pawan Gupta (22), while Hegde argued for Vinay Sharma (23) and Akshay Thakur (31).