In a landmark judgment, The Supreme Court of India confirmed the Death Sentence of four people who were accused of raping and killing a young 23-year-old Medical Student in a moving bus in Delhi. The incident ignited the people and demonstrations and agitations against the police and the central government spread all over India. Bowing to the will of the people, parliament amended the 1861 Indian Penal Code and in rape cases instituted the punishment of death. The earlier act which was passed during the days of the Raj specified a maximum punishment of seven years in prison.

This is now amended to life in prison for rape cases or death by hanging. This mode of execution is specified in the Indian jail manual. After the rape by six persons the girl and her escort were thrown out of the bus and left to die by the roadside.

The police reacted very fast and were able to locate the bus and all the occupants including the driver and conductor. They were arrested and put on trial for the murder and rape of the young girl.The incident had aroused the conscience of the entire nation and people were looking forward to seeing how the Judiciary would tackle this murder and rape case.The girl, through sheer willpower, survived long enough to identify the rapists. This bit of evidence came in handy during the trial and the magistrate sentenced five of the six accused to death.

The 6th, who was a juvenile was let off with a three-year punishment. Out of the 5 incarcerated in Tihar Jail, one committed suicide by hanging and the remaining four appealed their case to the supreme court

Supreme Court confirms death

The Supreme Court in its judgment specified that the accused merited the death sentence. The supreme court had earlier said that the death sentence needs to be awarded only in the "rarest of rare cases." The court, in its judgment, specified that this case faĺls in this category and confirmed the death sentence.

The award of the death sentence will go a long way in assuaging the hurt feelings of the people of India. The decision of the court has been welcomed and now people are looking forward to when the four remaining convicts will be executed.

Nirbhaya Case

The Nirbhaya case is a landmark case in Indian judicial history. This is the first time that the sentence of death has been awarded in the case of rape.

One hopes that it will act as a deterrent. Rape cases particularly in Delhi, are on the upswing and it was imperative for the court to show that it did not stand in the way of the will of the people. The only legal remedy left to the accused is a plea for pardon to the president of India. This is unlikely to be entertained and now it is a matter of time before the four are sent to the gallows. This punishment is in sharp contrast to the UK where the death punishment was taken out of the statute books.