The Supreme Court will on Monday hear the appeals of the four men convicted in the sensational December 16 gangrape and murder case, 21 months after the Delhi High Court upheld their death sentences.
The appeals will be heard by a three-judge bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice Kurian Joseph in accordance with an SC ruling that death appeals should be heard only by three-judge benches.
The Delhi High Court had confirmed the sentence of Mukesh Singh, 27, Akshay Thakur, 29, Pawan Gupta, 20, and Vinay Sharma, 21, saying their crime falls in the rarest-of-the-rare category, which warrants death penalty.
The prime accused, Ram Singh, 35, had been found dead in a cell in Tihar Jail in March, 2014 and proceedings against him were since abated.
On August 31 last year, another accused, a juvenile at the time of the crime, was convicted and sentenced to three years in a reformation home.
On the night of December 16, 2012, the paramedic student was gangraped in a moving bus in south Delhi after the convicts lured her and her 28-year-old male friend, who was also assaulted, to board a vehicle they were driving. The girl died on December 29, 2012 in a hospital in Singapore.
Two days after the Delhi high court upheld the trial court’s verdict awarding death penalty to the four convicts, the top court had on March 14, 2014, stayed their hanging. Till the SC gives its final verdict, the four cannot be hanged.
Within a month of the brutal incident, a fast-track court began the trial proceedings in the case on January 17, 2013. It took just eight months to hand out death sentences to all the accused.
Even the Delhi high court fast-tracked the convicts’ appeal and within six months it confirmed the capital punishment given to the convicts.
Though the cases got listed four times in the past before the Supreme Court, it could not be taken up for hearing.