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It said in a review petition the petitioner can not be allowed to re-argue merits of the case by pointing out certain evidences and materials, which were on the record and were already looked into by the trial court, HC and this court as well.

A three-member bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices R. Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan dismissed a petition filed by three of the four convicts to review the apex court's May 2017 order confirming the death penalty given by the Delhi High Court in 2014.

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A lawyer for the men, A.P. Singh, told reporters at the courthouse after the verdict that "injustice" had been done to the convicted murderers - using the Hindi word for "boys" to describe them - and the court had caved to public and political pressure to uphold the death penalty.

Earlier this year, the issue of women's safety erupted again after an 8-year-old Muslim girl was gang-raped and killed in the northern state of Jammu & Kashmir and a lawmaker from the governing Bharatiya Janata Party was arrested and charged with raping a teenager.

The three men - Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Singh - had asked the Supreme Court to consider less severe punishment.

The six-strong gang beat the man unconscious before raping and torturing Singh with an iron bar as the private bus drove loops through the Indian capital. The victim succumbed to her injuries two weeks later at a hospital in Singapore. The three men, and a fourth who did not contest the sentence, face death by hanging.

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A fifth man, who was the suspected leader of the group, was found dead in prison in what is thought to be a suicide, while a 17-year-old was sentenced to three years in a detention center and has since been released.

"There is no evidence to show that the death penalty acts as a deterrent for sexual violence or any other crime", said Asmita Basu, a top official of the global rights organisation in India.

But the defendants' lawyer said he would file a curative petition, the last legal challenge. While one accused, Ram Singh, killed himself in jail on 11 March 2013, the remaining four were awarded death penalty by a Delhi court on 10 September, 2013.

In 2016, there were some 40,000 rapes reported in India, according to the most recent official figures available.

The case led to the introduction of the death sentence for raping girls under 12.

Out of the 371 death row convicts in 2017, 43 were awarded the ultimate punishment for crimes involving fatal sexual assaults.