A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan on Friday upheld the death sentence awarded to all four rapists in Nirbhaya gangrape case. 

The SC bench observed that the "nature and manner of the crime devastated social trust and it falls in "rarest of rare" category warranting death penalty. All the four convicts are to be hanged. According to sources, as the court read out its verdict, many in the audience welcomed it with loud claps.

While pronouncing the verdict the court observed that the incident created "a tsunami of shock in the minds of the collective, destroyed humanity”. "The brutal, barbaric, and diabolical conduct of the convicts shook the conscience of humanity and they don't deserve leniency," the top court said.

The devilish manner in which the accused played with the victim is diabolical,” the court said.

                                      Read Full Text of the SC Verdict

Those who will face the gallows are Mukesh (29), Pawan (22), Vinay Sharma (23) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31). One of the accused, Ram Singh, had allegedly committed
suicide in the Tihar Jail, while a convicted juvenile was sentenced three years of punishment in a reform home. 

The 23-year-old paramedic was brutally assaulted and raped by six persons in a moving bus in south Delhi and thrown out of the vehicle with her male friend on the night of December 16, 2012. She had died in a Singapore hospital on December 29 the same year.

Earlier the defence counsel had said that the court should separately consider "mitigating" circumstances of each convict while sending them to the gallows. During the Friday hearing the SC confirmed the findings of both trial and Delhi High court, pronounced the death sentence.

The defence counsel had sought leniency for the convicts considering their poor family background and young age. The police but told the bench that the horrific crime committed by these men warranted death penalty and the test of being a "rarest of rare" case was satisfied in this matter and the court should also consider the effect of crime committed by them on the victim and the society at large.

                                                                         Read Full Text of the SC Verdict

Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, who has assisted the court as an amicus curiae, had told the bench that there was no doubt that the crime committed was of "immense proportion" but as the evidence was not concrete, it does not warrant death penalty.

Senior counsel Raju Ramachandran, also an amicus curiae, had said that option of awarding jail term for the whole life to these convicts may also be considered.
The convicts have approached the Supreme Court against the high court's order which had confirmed the death penalty awarded to them by the trial court.

During the hearing, advocates A P Singh and M L Sharma, representing the four convicts, had said they should be given a chance to reform and considering the mitigating factors, the court should not award them death penalty. They also raised questions about the evidence collected by the police in the matter.

On February 3, the apex court bench had prima facie agreed with the contention of Ramachandran that the provision of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), relating to sentencing of convicts, has not been followed in letter and spirit by the trial court.

It was submitted that section 235 of the CrPC provides that an accused, in the event of conviction, would be heard on the question of sentencing individually, before the trial judge passes the order awarding punishment.

The bench had then mulled ways to rectify the apparent error and said there are two modes -- either the case be remanded back to the trial court to pass a fresh order on the sentence or the apex court itself hears this aspect of the matter afresh.

The trial court had awarded death penalty to the four convicts. Prime accused Ram Singh had allegedly committed suicide in his cell in Tihar jail in March 2013 and proceedings against him were abated.

The high court, in its verdict, had observed that their offence fell in the rarest of the rare category and had upheld the death sentence awarded to them by the trial court.