India's Supreme Court on Monday upheld the death penalty for three men convicted in the gang rape of a young woman in Delhi in 2012, a landmark case that brought an unprecedented level of attention to violence against women in the country.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan had reserved the order after hearing arguments on behalf of the convicts Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta who sought a review of its verdict.
Earlier on May 4, 2018 the apex court had reserved its order on the plea of convicts seeking a review of its 2017 verdict upholding the death penalty awarded to them in the Nirbhaya gangrape case.
On 16 December 2012, a student was brutally assaulted and raped by six persons on a moving bus in South Delhi, an incident which triggered nationwide protests.
After 45 minutes she was then dumped on the street with horrific internal injuries, dying as a result of them 13 days later in a Singapore hospital.
Amnesty International India said in 2017, India was one of only three countries in the world which expanded the scope of death penalty by adopting new laws. Their sentence was upheld by the Delhi high court in 2014.More news: Donald Trump urged to avoid controversial Supreme Court pick
Three of the rest of the four convicts appealed to the Supreme Court to change its own death sentence into life imprisonment. Convicts can not be allowed to re-argue a case in the guise of a review plea, said the court.
A fifth man, who was the suspected leader of the group, was found dead in prison in what is thought to be a suicide, while a 17-year-old was sentenced to three years in a detention center and has since been released.
They have now exhausted all their legal options but can still file a mercy petition before India's president.
After the Supreme Court's judgment on Monday, the victim's mother said she was happy her daughter had got justice, though she added that their struggle did not end here. "I think true justice for Nirbhaya will be when such crimes against women stop in the society", she said. "I believe sooner they're hanged, better it is", Badrinath Singh, father of 2012 Delhi gang-rape victim quoted as saying. There is no evidence to show that death penalty acts as a deterrent for sexual violence or any other crime.
A sixth suspect was just months short of 18 years when the crime took place.
The case put the treatment of women in India in the global spotlight and led to heavier sentences for sex crimes. "They'll definitely be hanged very soon for the barbarism they committed", Asha Devi said.