The convicts were sent to gallows under the newly-introduced section 376 (e) of IPC which provides for maximum punishment of death for repeat rapists even without the death of a victim.
The amended legal provisions came into force after the brutal Delhi gang-rape case in December 2012. The three convicts got the capital punishment in the case related to gang-rape of a photojournalist last August, after they were sentenced to life imprisonment for rape of a telephone operator.
"If not in this case then in which case death (penalty) should be given?" asked judge Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi, awarding the death sentence for Vijay Jadhav (19), Kasim Bengali (21) and Mohammed Salim Ansari (28).
"They must be hanged by their neck till they are dead." Sexual offenders are a menace to the society and should be mercilessly punished and the judge should not hesitate to use the "sword of justice" when the case demands so, the judge said.
The fourth accused Siraj Rehman, who was convicted only in this case, got life imprisonment. Judge Joshi also handed over various jail terms to the four accused and imposed fines, on various counts including unnatural sex, criminal intimidation, wrongful restraint, assault, destruction of evidence, etc., under IPC, and under the Information Technology Act.
The offence was diabolical, the court said, observing that it was committed in "a pre-planned manner". Judge Joshi also observed that the accused showed no mercy to the victim, were cruel in their conduct and had no remorse.
"Common man will lose faith in the system. Common men appreciate the language of deterrence. Such offence must not be tolerated and there should be a zero tolerance to such crimes. If leniency is shown it will be a misplaced sympathy and travesty of justice," the court said.