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HC paves way to gallows for Dec 16 rapists

Friday, 14 March 2014 | Sweta Goswami | New Delhi

The Delhi High court on Thursday put its stamp on the death sentence awarded to four convicts in the gruesome gangrape of December 16, 2012.

The court trashed the convicts’ plea of leniency and ruled that only an “appropriate” punishment could satisfy the rage of society and restore the “respect” for the judicial system. The anguish of the Bench, while pronouncing the 340-page judgement, was evident with its observation that the instant case was unparallel in the history of criminal jurisprudence and the culprits needed “exemplary punishment”. The court said it was this horrendous act that earned Delhi the title of ‘Rape Capital’

A Division Bench of Justice Reva Khetrapal and Pratibha Rani rejected the appeals of the convicts — Akshay Thakur (29), Vinay Sharma (21), Pawan Gupta (20) and Mukesh  Singh(27) — against the trial court’s verdict saying the offences were “completely revolting” and committed in an “extremely fiendish, demoniac, barbaric and nefarious manner”.

“The case without a shadow of doubt falls in the category of the rarest of rare cases where culpability has assumed the proportion of extreme depravity,” the court noted while confirming the death reference made by the Delhi Government.

The HC’s judgement came as a surprise as neither the prosecution nor parents of the victim had any clue about it. Even the convicts were not present inside the courtroom at the time of pronouncement of judgement. Even the parents of the deceased were informed just three hours before the court proceedings started.

Nevertheless, the news of the judgement spread like wildfire and by 2.30 pm the courtroom was jam-packed. The court delivered the judgement at 2.50 pm bringing smile and a feeling of satisfaction on faces of the hapless parents. The defence counsel was, however, quick to term the death sentence as “violation of human rights” as he also announced that he would challenge the High Court order before the Supreme Court.

Earlier, the court rubbished the defence plea seeking leniency on the grounds of convicts’ age, clean antecedents and their socio-economic background.The court maintained that the motive behind the crime was so pervert that there was hardly any chance of their rehabilitation.

“The crime was not committed to alleviate poverty or pangs of hunger and starvation. Undoubtedly, they did not belong to the cream of the society, but they were neither beggars nor vagabonds nor even ruffians for whom crime is a means of self-preservation…they were gainfully employed and were not expected to stoop so low in their lust for money and satiate their sexual appetite,” the court observed.

The court has also dealt in great detail the ordeal of the victim who had succumbed to her injuries on December 29, 2012 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. Justice Khetrapal, in her order, also cited the great India poet Jai Shankar Prasad to explain the vulnerability of women in the society.


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