A fast track trial court on Friday pronounced death sentence to all the four convicted in the brutal gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, evoking cheers from political leaders and public alike.
The four convicts - Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Mukesh Singh and Pawan Gupta - were given death sentence by the Saket fast track trial court, terming the crime as "rarest of rare" case.
"In these times when crime against women is on the rise courts cannot turn a blind eye towards such barbaric and gruesome crime. There cannot be any tolerance. This crime in every way falls within the rarest of rare category warranting a death sentence," said Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna while pronouncing the judgement.
The 23-year-old physiotherapy student was gang-raped and fatally injured in a moving bus by six men on 16 December last year. She was rushed to Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi before being flown to Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital where she succumbed to injuries, triggering mass protest across the country.
While four of the six convicts have been given death sentence, one of the accused Ram Singh was found dead in Tihar jail in March this year. The other accused, who has been pronounced a minor, was convicted by a juvenile board on 31 August and has been given the maximum punishment of three years in a special correctional facility.
Cheers erupted in and outside the Delhi court after the judge pronounced maximum punishment to all the four convicts.
"Today we can breathe a little easier. I hope the conviction will deter people from committing such crimes in future," Reuters quoted the victim's mother as saying after the judgement was announced.
"The way they hurt my daughter, I wanted them hurt too," the father of the victim told reporters.
Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde also welcomed the verdict, saying that "the sentence shows that if people commit such heinous crimes then there is no chance that they will be spared. I welcome that."
Many took to social networking sites to express their happiness on the ruling of the court that came after seven month of trial. Here are some reactions on Twitter:
Sushma Swaraj: "I welcome the judgement in Delhi gang rape case. This will serve as a deterrent for such offences."
Kiran Bedi: "Justice Done! Thank u Judiciary! You keep the faith in rule of law alive! Jai hind."
Mohandas Pai: "Welcome death sentence for rapists. They should be castrated first, then hung. These are brutal killers. Every rape case should be fast tracked."
Naveen Jindal: "Justice has been served. Nirbhaya, we all hope you rest in peace. You have changed India, you are everyone's daughter."
Karan Johar: "Death Sentence of the Rapists!!!!! Thank god...there is a god!!! and finally...there is JUSTICE!!!"
Anupam Kher: "Death Sentence for Rapists." This Friday the 13th is a day of JUSTICE. Jai Ho.:)"
Raveena Tandon: "Superb!! For once its been victory of the people!! Delhi Rape Victim..Nirbhayas Rapists To HANG! Bunch of us women having lunch clapped in the restaurant after watching the news on TV."
Akshay Kumar: "Justice prevails, death sentence for the four rapists! Hope this conveys a message to the other men. They deserve nothing less for such a heinous act!"