The convicts of the Asifabad gangrape and murder case in Telangana were presented in front of the High Court in Hyderabad on Tuesday, less than a month after a local court had sentenced all three accused in the case to death.
As per due process, the High Court needs to confirm the death sentences awarded by lower courts and fast track courts under Section 366 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which says that "When the Court of Session passes a sentence of death, the proceedings shall be submitted to the High Court, and the sentence shall not be executed unless it is confirmed by the High Court. "
The Telangana High Court asked the convicts to explain why they shouldn't be awarded the death penalty and asked them to elaborate on their arguments.
The three convicts, Shaik Babu, Shaik Shaboddin, and Shaik Makdum, were found guilty last month of raping and killing Samata*, a street hawker who hailed from Nirmal district's Khanapur region and sold cosmetics and other such items.
The three convicts had killed her in a village in Asifabad district on November 24, where her body was found in the early hours of November 25.
The case was adjourned to March 24 for further hearing.
Samatha's death had triggered protests across the district, with many demanding a speedy trial and capital punishment to the accused.
The police began its investigation and even filed a chargesheet within a month, along with physical evidence, DNA test results and eyewitness accounts.
After the judgement was announced, Samata's husband had told reporters, "Our children are unable to digest that their mother is gone. Maybe they will continue to feel sad about her. But I'll tell them that her killers were punished, and console them. I will raise them on my own."