open conversation about gender crime in television debates, social media and even Bollywood.
Still, sex crimes remain commonplace in India, and social commentators say patriarchal attitudes towards women have not been diluted by more than a decade of rapid economic growth.
Comments on social media websites and elsewhere ahead of the sentencing suggested that popular opinion favoured executing the men, although a survey by CNN-IBN-The Hindu newspaper in July showed Indians were divided on the merits of capital punishment.
Although the Supreme Court ruled in the 1980s that the death penalty should be imposed only in the "rarest of rare" cases, opponents say the reality is quite different.
Indian courts sentenced 1,455 prisoners to death between 2001 and 2011, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.
There are 477 people on death row. Many have been there for years. Human rights groups have been alarmed, however, by the vigour with which President Pranab Mukherjee, who took office in July 2012, has acted in clearing the backlog of clemency pleas. He has rejected 11, confirming the death penalty for 17 people.
Some women's rights groups and legal experts had opposed executing the Delhi attackers. Others have invoked the Gandhian principle that "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind".
"Sending these four men to the gallows will accomplish nothing except short-term revenge," Tara Rao, director of Amnesty International India said in a statement.
"While the widespread anger over this Delhi gangrape case is understandable, authorities must avoid using the death penalty as a 'quick-fix' solution. There is no evidence that the death penalty is a particular deterrent to crime, and its use will not eradicate violence against women in India."
*The convicts are not convicted only on account of conspiracy but also for their overt acts.
*Offence committed in a extremely brutal, grotesque, diabolical, revolting and thus dastardly manner so as to arouse intense and extreme indignation of society.
*Demonstration of exceptional depravity and extreme brutality.
*Extreme misery inflicted upon the prosecutrix before her death.
*Grave impact of the crime on social order.
*Aggravating circumstances thus outweigh the mitigating circumstances.
*Extreme mental perversion not worthy of human condonation.
*Their unprovoked crime demonstrated exceptional depravity of mind of the convict, shows beastly behaviour.
*Suffering inflicted on the victim was unparalleled. The brutality caused to her internal organs is extreme. The act of convicts call for extreme penalty.
*Court has to look into the factors like society's abhorrence, extreme indignation and antipathy to certain types of cases.