The convicts were awarded death sentence by a trial court in September 2013. In photo: Mother and brother of the 23-year-old victim of December 16 gang rape arrive at Juvenile court on August 31, 2013 in New Delhi. (Getty)
The Supreme Court of India will today begin its hearing in the appeals filed by the four accused in the landmark December 16 gang rape case which had rocked the nation.
Twenty three-year-old Nirbhaya was brutally assaulted and gang-raped by six people in a moving bus in the capital city of New Delhi on the night of December 16, 2012 and thrown out of the vehicle. She died in a Singapore hospital on December 29.
A special bench of the Indian apex court hearing the plea of convicts awarded death in the case has decided to sit two hours beyond its working time to ensure speedy disposal of the case that has been pending in the court for more than two years.
The convicts Vinay Sharma (23), Akshay Thakur (31), Mukesh (29) and Pawan Gupta (22) were awarded death sentence by a trial court in September 2013 and six months later the Delhi High Court upheld their conviction and sentence. All the convicts then approached the Supreme Court which in 2014 had stayed their execution and the matter is pending in the top court since then.
The Delhi High Court had upheld their conviction and award of death penalty by terming the offence as 'extremely fiendish' and 'unparalleled in the history of criminal jurisprudence' and said the exemplary punishment was the need of the hour.
Though arguments started in April before a three-judge bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra, arguments will have to be made afresh since the combination of judges in the bench has been changed.
The bench comprises Justices Dipak Misra, C. Nagappan and Ms. R. Banumathi.