Legal experts, drawing a parallel with Dhananjoy Chatterjee's execution, have opined that men who brutally sexually assaulted the 23-year-old paramedical student, leading to her death, deserved to be hanged.
Lawyers said the mitigating and aggravating circumstances related to the incident are such that the case falls within the "rarest of the rare" category, defined by the Supreme Court for imposing death sentence in cases of grave offences.
Chatterjee was executed in 2004 for the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in Kolkata in March 1990. He worked as a guard in the building where the victim lived.
Referring to the apex court verdict in the Dhananjoy case, Supreme Court advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan said: "The top court has held that the death sentence should be an exception. Guidelines laid down by the apex court state that mitigating circumstances, related to an accused's conduct, has to be accorded full weightage while punishing the guilty."
"Like in Dhananjoy's case, there was a break of trust in this one too. When I board a public vehicle, I entrust my life and custody to the driver and its conductor. Trust is betrayed if I am raped and this act goes against the conduct of an accused," he added.
Even the aggravating circumstances are heavily against the alleged perpetrators in this case.
Senior advocate Nidesh Gupta said: "If you see the tests laid down by the apex court, this particular incident completely fits the requirement. The men first committed rape and then brutally assaulted the helpless victim with a foreign object. Their defence of being intoxicated is hardly plausible as such an act could be done by a conscious person."
Kamini Jaiswal, another Supreme Court counsel, added the use of an iron rod by the accused was evident of the fact that the men had intended to kill her. "Any person knows that insertion of a rod into the body could kill a person. The accused were trying to teach her a lesson only because she stood up to defend her friend," the advocate said.