Lawyers at a court hearing the case of a fatal gangrape which has shocked the nation said on Wednesday they would refuse to defend the men accused of taking part in the assault and murder.
Hearings are expected to begin on Thursday at the Saket district court in south Delhi, where police will formally present a 1,000-page charge sheet against the six-person gang.
"We have decided that no lawyer will stand up to defend the rape accused as it would be immoral to defend the case," Sanjay Kumar, a lawyer and a member of the Saket District Bar Council, said.
Kumar said the 2,500 advocates registered at the court have decided to "stay away" to ensure "speedy justice", meaning the government would have to appoint lawyers for the defendants.
Another lawyer at the court confirmed the boycott to AFP.
Chargesheet likely on Thursday
The Delhi Police is likely to file the chargesheet in the gangrape-cum-murder case on Thursday and will seek death penalty for the accused during the trial.
A senior police official said the chargesheet is expected to be filed on Thursday against five of the six accused in the December 16 brutal gangrape and assault case of the girl.
The sixth person apprehended in the case has claimed that he is a minor and his case will be tried in Juvenile Justice Board. A separate police report will be sent to the Board after a bone test confirms that he is a minor.
"The chargesheet will be in e-format as we do usually," the official said.
Sources said that the main chargesheet will comprise 50 pages and will be accompanied by hundreds of pages of annexures.
Charges of gangrape, murder, kidnapping, criminal assault and robbery among other sections of IPC will be pressed against the accused.
The prosecution during the trial would demand death penalty for the five accused in connection with ghastly incident which stirred the conscience of the nation.
The Singapore doctor, who carried out the postmortem of rape victim, will be included as a witness by the police in its charge sheet, the sources said.
The male friend of the victim will be the main witness in the case while the Singapore doctor, who carried out the postmortem, and the Indian mission official who received her death certificate, would be asked to testify, they said.
Police sources had said that the six accused had also allegedly tried to mow the girl down under the bus after dumping her in south-west Delhi but her male friend had saved her from being crushed in the nick of time.
The brutality and horrific nature of the attack on a 23-year-old has led to protests in the capital and elsewhere over the widespread abuse of women and sex crime in India.
The rape victim died at the weekend after 13-day struggle to survive injuries so grievous that part of her intestines had to be removed.
She was repeatedly raped and violated with an iron bar on a bus on December 16 before being thrown from the moving vehicle at the end of a 40-minute ordeal.
In 2008, lawyers also refused to defend a gunman who took part in attacks on Mumbai which killed 166 people, leaving him with a government-appointed lawyer. He was executed in November last year.
(With inputs from AFP, PTI)