Arguing that the December 16 gang rape and murder was "the rarest of rare" case, the police on Wednesday demanded death for the four convicts on the ground that there is no chance of their reformation as their behaviour was barbaric.
But lawyers for the convicts Mukesh, 26, Vinay Sharma, 20, Pawan Gupta, 19, and Akshay Thakur, 28, pleaded before the fast track court which held them guilty on Tuesday for leniency citing Mahatma Gandhi's famous quote that "Only God can give life and only He has the right to take it away."
At the conclusion of the three-hour long arguments, Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna reserved for Friday afternoon its order on sentence against the convicts who were held guilty on Tuesday of gang rape, murder, unnatural sex and robbery and other offences which can fetch them death.
"The crime is not only grotesque and diabolic in nature but the barbaric behaviour of the convicts was of the highest kind.
"Reformation of people like these. I do not think there is any chance," Special Public Prosecutor Dayan Krishnan said while arguing on the quantum of sentence.
Advancing his arguments, Krishnan said death sentence should be awarded to the four convicts as the case falls in the category of "rarest of rare" cases.
Pointing out the nature of crime as 'rarest of rare', he said the convicts had raped and killed a young helpless girl, even as she pleaded for her life and "none among the six were moved by the girl's incessant cries for mercy."
Even as the defence counsel sought a chance for reformation for the convicts, Krishnan said "there is no scope for symnpathy". He said people at large are watching this case and if the convicts are awarded a lighter punishment, the public will lose faith in the judicial system.
"If the maximum sentence is not given, the message will go to the society that deviance of this nature will be tolerated. This is an extreme case of depravity and sexual assault. The act to damage the girl's intestines intentionally leaves no scope of sympathy.
"We will tell the society that this degree of deviance will not be tolerated. The sentence which is appropriate is nothing short of death. If death is not given, the society will lose faith in the judicial system," Krishnan submitted.
The prosecutor said that as per an apex court judgement when there is murder after gangrape, the sentence should be death penalty. During the court proceedings, convict Vinay appeared teary-eyed while the other three attended the hearing with straight faces.
In their reply, advocate A P Singh, appearing for convict Vinay and Akshay, claimed innocence and asked the court if giving death to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's killer Beant Singh prevented the execution of her son Rajiv Gandhi.
Initiating the arguments for the convicts, Pawan's counsel Vivek Sharma and Sadashiv Gupta said "Pawan was under the influence of alcohol and the incident happened on the spur of the moment. The crime may be shocking but the criminal may not be awarded death."