In May last year, India's highest court upheld the 2013 death penalty verdicts for four of the six assailants who gang-raped and tortured a 23-year-old college student in New Delhi in December 2012, saying they did not deserve leniency due to "brutal, barbaric and diabolical" conduct.
The Bench comprising Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra and Justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan was hearing the review plea filed by Mukesh (29), Pawan Gupta (22) and Vinay Sharma (23). They can file one last petition with the Supreme Court, and if it is again rejected, they can seek presidential mercy, said A.P. Singh, the defence lawyer.
Justice Bhushan said that "the ambit and scope of a review petition is well-defined and can only be entertained if there is judicial fallibility, miscarriage of justice and error apparent in the earlier apex court judgment", The Hindu reported.
On 16 December 2012, the six convicts raped and brutalised the student in a moving bus she had boarded in South Delhi with a male friend. The victim succumbed to her injuries two weeks later at a hospital in Singapore.
Another, who was aged 17 at the time, was released in 2015 after serving three years in a reform facility - the maximum term possible for a juvenile in India.
The victim's father said, "All women in the country have received justice today".
The May 2017 verdict by the Supreme Court was delivered in appeal against the death sentence awarded to them by the Delhi high court, which considered it to be a "rarest of rare" case.
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In September 2013, four of the men were convicted of murder, gang-rape, theft, conspiracy and "unnatural acts" following a seven-month trial.
The case also put the treatment of women in the world's largest democracy in the global spotlight and led to heavier sentences for sex crimes.
According to National Crime Records Bureau data for 2016, incidents of rape of children in India increased by over 82 percent compared with 2015, when almost 35,000 rape cases were reported to the police.
The fourth did not appeal, but his lawyer said they would soon file one, according to the Press Trust of India news agency. The remaining four accused were sentenced to death by Additional Sessions Judge.
More than 1,300 people have been sentenced to death in the past decade, and India ranks 10th globally in the number of sentences handed down. The culprits arrested were Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, Ram Singh and another young man who was just short of his 18th birthday.
"The convicts must be immediately hanged to death", he said.