Sending to the gallows the four who brutally gang-raped a woman here, a Delhi court refused to show any leniency saying they were guilty of "exhibiting extreme mental perversion not worthy of human condonation".
Calling it a crime that "shocked the collective conscience", Additional Session Judge Yogesh Khanna said: "The criminal justice system must instil confidence in the minds of people especially the women. The crime of such nature against a helpless women, per se, requires exemplary punishment."
Rejecting the defence plea that the convicts should be spared the gallows as they were first-time offenders, the judge cited the example of Mumbai terror attack convict Ajmal Kasab who was sentenced to death despite being a first-time offender.
"The facts show that THE victim's entire intestine was perforated, splayed and cut open due to repeated insertions of rods and hands," said the judge.
"The convicts, in the most barbaric manner, pulled out her internal organs with their bare hands as well as by the rods and caused her irreparable injuries, thus exhibiting extreme mental perversion not worthy of human condonation," said the court.
The 23-year-old woman was brutally gang raped in a moving bus by six people including a juvenile. She died 13 days later in Singapore where she was taken for treatment.
The court said the "uprovoked crime" of convicts demonstrated their exceptional depravity of mind and bite marks on the woman's body showed their "beastly behaviour".
"As the convict in pursuance of their conspiracy lured the victims into the bus, brutally gang raped the woman, inflicted inhuman torture and threw the defenceless victims out of the moving bus in a naked condition, profusely bleeding in a cold winter night... their unprovoked crime demonstrated exceptional depravity of mind of the convicts," said the judge.
The judge said he had to look into the factors like "society's abhorrence, extreme indignation and antipathy to certain types of cases, like the case in hand - of gang rape with brutal murder of a helpless girl.
"These are the times when gruesome crimes against women have become rampant and courts cannot turn a blind eye to the need to send a strong deterrent message to the perpetrators of such crimes.
"The increasing trend of crimes against women can be arrested only once the society realises that there will be no tolerance for any form of deviance against women and more so in extreme cases of brutality such as the present one and hence the criminal justice system must instil confidence in the minds of people especially the women.
"The crime of such nature against a helpless women, per se, requires exemplary punishment," the judge said.
"The gravity of the incident depicts the hair raising beastly and unparalleled behaviour.
"The subjecting of the woman to inhuman acts of torture before her death had not only shocked the collective conscience but called for the withdrawal of the protective arm of the community around the convicts.
"This ghastly act of the convicts definitely fits this case in the bracket of rarest of rare cases," said the court
The court said the men should die for murder. "Accordingly, the convicts be hanged by neck till they are dead."
The court also fined the men Rs.55,000 each.
The court said counsel for the convicts sought leniency because of their young age, their socio-economic status, their clean antecedents and reformative approach.
However, one needs to add that the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the "young age of the accused is not a determinative factor by itself against the award of the death sentence".
Rather all the circumstances needed to be taken together and proper weightage given to each circumstance, the court said.
Similarly, the socio-economic status of the convict or the convict being under any intoxication could not be the determinative factors in sentencing, the court said.
The judge also declined to take into consideration their clean antecedents or a chance of reformation, saying there are many judgments by the Supreme Court where the accused were first-time offenders but were awarded death.