A fast-track court Saturday framed charges against the five men accused of gang-raping and murdering of a 23-year old paramedical student in a moving bus Dec 16.
Justice Yogendra Khanna framed the charges under 13 sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and set the next hearing date on February 05. Since then the trial would begin.
The accused have been charged with murder, gang-rape, unnatural offence, destruction of evidence, attempt to murder, kidnapping, causing hurt while committing robbery, dacoity with murder, and common intent among others.
The can face a maximum punishment of death sentence as union cabinet has given its nod for this case. The minimum punishment for this heinous crime would be 20-years jail.
The Juvenile Justice Board declared the sixth accused a minor last month, and his case will be heard by the board.
The five accused are Ram Singh, a bus driver, and his brother Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, a fruit seller, Vinay Sharma, a gym instructor, and Akshay Thakur, a bus cleaner. They are currently lodged in Tihar Jail.
The case brought thousands of protesters onto the streets and ignited intense public debate over the failure of the police and the government to stem rampant violence against women in India.
A strictly enforced media blackout on the court proceedings means there will likely be few details about the trial, leaving many with unanswered questions about an attack that was shocking in its brutality.
The student was tortured with an iron rod and raped on a moving bus in the capital on December 16. She was then thrown bleeding onto the street along with a male friend who was also beaten. She died of organ failure in a Singapore hospital two weeks later.
Prosecutors say they have a large file of evidence, including DNA from blood-stained clothing recovered by police.
The five, who police say range in age from 19 to 34, have been appearing in court almost daily for pre-trial hearings on the framing of the charges.
The prosecution wants the men tried for rape, kidnapping, murder and robbery, among other charges.
--With Agencies Inputs--