The attackers were sentenced to death in 2013 by the trial court while the fifth hanged himself in prison during the original seven-month case.
The verdict was upheld by the high court in 2014 but the attackers – Vinay Sharma, Akshay Kumar Thakur, Pawan Gupta, and Mukesh Singh – appealed to the Supreme Court.
Today their sentences were upheld and they now face execution.
Applause broke out in court among relatives of the victim, whose identity is protected by law, as judges explained the crime met the ‘rarest of the rare’ standard required to justify capital punishment in India.
The five men and a teenager lured the 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist and her male friend onto a bus in New Delhi on December 16, 2012, before repeatedly raping the woman and beating both with a metal bar and dumping them on a road.
The woman died of internal injuries nearly two weeks later in a Singapore
Speaking outside the court, the victim’s mother said: ‘I am very satisfied. Today I am happy.’
Her father said: ‘It’s not just a victory for my family, it’s a victory for each and every woman in our country.’
The crime sparked large-scale protests and led thousands of women across India to break their silence over sexual violence that often goes unreported.
It also shone a spotlight on what women’s groups call a rape epidemic in the country.
In 2015, police registered more than 34,000 rape complaints and 84,000 women filed sexual harassment cases, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.
Authorities have stiffened penalties against sex crimes, introduced fast-track trials in rape cases and made stalking a crime.
A.P. Singh, a lawyer representing three of the condemned men, said justice had not been done. He vowed to file a review petition to the chief justice of the Supreme Court.