New Delhi, March 13: The Delhi High Court Thursday said the Dec 16, 2012 gang rape brought about major reforms in criminal law dealing with offences against women.

A division bench of Justice Reva Khetrapal and Justice Pratibha Rani observed that the incident sparked an unprecedented public movement where people from every strata of the society came on a common platform demanding justice for the victim. (Read: Delhi HC confirms death sentence)

It said the outcry was for safety of women and punishment proportionate to the crime for the offenders and the demand was for amending the penal law, thereby prescribing death sentence in deserving cases of rape.

The court said the volcano that erupted led to set up of a judicial committee headed by Justice J.S. Verma by the government to suggest amendments to the criminal law.

“The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013 was passed amending the Indian Penal Code to provide death penalty in rape cases that lead to death of the victim or leave her in a vegetative state,” the court said.

The court said that within days of the incident, fast track courts were ordered to be set up in all parts of the country to deal with cases related to sexual assault against women.

Overnight, safety of women became a cause for concern.

The court said the incident not only shocked the nation but even the international community.

The bench dismissed the appeals of the four convicts – Mukesh, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma – and confirmed the death sentences awarded to them by a trial court Sep 13.

The 23-year-old physiotherapy intern was gang-raped by six men, including a juvenile, in a moving bus. The woman died of grave intestinal injuries Dec 29, 2012 at Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital.