Akshay, a convict in the fatal 2012 gang rape of a 23-year-old paramedical student, deserved the death sentence, his family members said after the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty for him and three others in the case on Friday.

"We have ended our relationship with him; Akshay is no more our family member; we have nothing to do with him," a close family member told IANS over telephone from Lahang Karma village in Aurangabad district, about 150 km from here.

"Please, we do not want to talk about him, he is our past, not present," said another family member, as most of the family members of Akshay termed the apex court's decision "right".

People in his village refused to talk about him as he brought disrepute to the village. "Our village was defamed due to Akshay's involvement in the infamous case. We don't want to discuss anything to defame our village any further," Satender Kumar Singh, a villager said.

However, according to a neighbour of Akshay's family, the entire family and some relatives were glued to the television set on Friday, "hoping against all hope that the apex court would overturn the death penalty."

"They were hopeful against all hope for some relief. It proved useless as Akshay's fate was sealed the day he was convicted. The apex court only upheld it," a villager said.

The four — Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur — were convicted for raping and assaulting the 23-year-old paramedical student inside a moving bus in Delhi on December 16, 2012.

The rapists, six in all, pounced on the young woman who had boarded the bus with her boyfriend to go home after seeing a movie "Life of Pi".

As the bus moved on south Delhi roads, the convicts pulled out her internal organs with a rusted L-shaped iron rod used with a wheel jack. This led to her death due to internal injuries 13 days later in a Singapore hospital.

After committing the crime, they dumped the woman and her friend on the side of a road. Some onlookers alerted the police. The sheer brutality of the crime led to nationwide revulsion and street protests.

A fifth accused, Ram Singh, committed suicide in Tihar Central Jail in the national capital. The sixth, a juvenile, who was accused of ripping apart the woman's intestines, was sent to a correction home and has been released after serving his probation period.