A special court in Haryana's Rohtak town sentenced seven convicts to death for raping and brutally murdering a mentally challenged Nepalese woman in February this year.
"I award the death sentence to all these accused in the case, and they should be hanged till death," additional district and sessions judge Seema Singhal said.
A 28-year-old mentally challenged woman was staying with her sister in Rohtak for treatment. She was abducted on 1 February and her mutilated body was found in the fields of Akbarpur village on 4 February. The half-naked body was recovered in a decomposed state, without key body organs and her face had been eaten by wild animals.
The Haryana police had named nine people in the case. While a juvenile is undergoing trial in a juvenile court, seven adults were tried and convicted during the last hearing on Friday and another suspect had committed suicide during the trial.
The judge has also imposed a fine of Rs 1.75 lakh each on all the convicts -- Padam, Pawan, Sunil, Sarwar, Rajesh, Sunil and Manbir. Delivering the verdict, the judge said that the "judgment should send a strong message to the people and that is the need of the hour".
"Besides a judicial officer, I am also a human being and can hear the groan of the victim. Women are still facing crime and discrimination from males in our society and we still see gender bias in our system... We need not hide our identity behind Nirbhaya and other names. Women should tell their names with pride," Singhal said, according to Hindustan Times.
The doctors, who conducted a five-hour long autopsy on the woman, had said the lungs and heart were missing from her body. They said that the woman was assaulted with 16 cm long asbestos sheet.
Sticks, stones, blades and condoms were stuffed into her private parts. The post-mortem report suggested that the woman died of damage to the brain and rupture of vagina, rectum and anus. She was attacked with a heavy blunt object on the head.
"There was a foul smell emanating from the body. Two stones had been used to brutalise her private parts. We also found a condom inside her private parts. In all, there were nine injuries on her body," Head of Forensic Medicine at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) Dr SK Dhattarwal had said.
The court's verdict came after it recorded the statements of 66 witnesses for 10 months. Prosecution lawyer Pradeep Malik had asked for a death sentence claiming that this "is the rarest of rare cases".
The defence has said that they would now move a higher court.