Mumbai: Bombay High Court, on Thursday, set aside death sentence of three repeat offenders in the gangrape of a photojournalist inside Mumbai's Shakti Mills compound in 2013. The court commuted the sentence of the trio, sending them to life imprisonment.
Lawyer of the culprits, Yug Chaudhry, told the high court that the death sentence violated their fundamental right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
Chaudhry also argued that the death sentence given to them was wrong in law since there existed an "enormous difference between the harm caused" by them and "the punishment" mated out to them.
Today's hearing by the Bombay High Court comes seven years after a trial court in Mumbai sentenced them to death.
The trial court in 2014 booked Qasim 'Bangali' Shaikh, Salim Ansari and Vijay Jadhav under Section 376(E) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and were awarded death sentence.
Section 376(E) provides life imprisonment or death for repeat offenders of rape was added to the IPC through the Criminal (Law) Amendment Act 2013, following outrage over the December 2012 Delhi gangrape.
The lawyer of the convicts moved the high court stating that the death sentence was awarded "incorrectly" to his clients by wrong application of law.
A 19-year-old telephone operator had earlier registered a case of gangrape at the defunct Shakti Mills compound. The accused in the alleged rape were mostly the same.
In March 2014, sessions court held the three men common accused guilty for the gangrape of the telephone operator and also pronounced them guilty for the gangrape of the photojournalist.