A Delhi court has sentenced five people to life imprisonment for molesting and murdering a homeless woman, saying they robbed the victim of dignity and deserve the highest punishment for the heinous crime.
Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Gulati convicted Naresh, Naseem, Jaipal, Mantoo Sharma and Beerpal for the offences under sections 354 (assault to a woman with an intent to outrage her modesty) and 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
"It has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that all the accused persons in furtherance of their common intention, molested the deceased and on resistance having been shown by her, physically assaulted her with stones on her head resulting in fatal injuries," the court said.
"All the accused persons are accordingly held guilty and convicted for the offences punishable under section 302, 354 read with section 34 (common intention) of IPC," it added.
It also imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 on each of the convicts.
Calling the act "undoubtedly heinous", the court noted in its order: "The victim before being done to death, was subjected to molestation of the highest degree. For a woman to be disrobed completely amounts not merely to denuding her but robbing her of dignity completely... Consequently, the act calls for imposition of highest punishment."
According to the prosecution, the incident took place in 2014, when the woman was sitting in a park in the evening while the five accused were consuming alcohol nearby.
After some time, the woman started walking on the track inside the park and the men followed her.
They tried to molest her, and when she resisted, Naseem gagged her, the complaint said. When she did not stop shouting, Naseem hit her on the head with a beer bottle. Following this, the other accused started hitting her with stones and she died on the spot.
They fled after leaving the woman's body near a tree trunk.
When the body was found, they were arrested on the basis of the statement of a ragpicker, an eye witness to the incident, and a case was registered against the five men. The accused had denied the charges and claimed trial.