India's Supreme Court has rejected a request to move the trial of five men accused of the premeditated rape and subsequent death of a 23-year-old female student.
In New Delhi Tuesday, a three-judge panel said the petition to have the trial moved is no longer valid because the attorney filing it no longer represents one of the defendants. The petition argued that the defendants could not get a fair trial in the Indian capital.
The suspects appeared at a pre-trial hearing Monday as the case moves through a special fast-track court.
Also Monday, a special panel ruled that a teenager accused in the case will be tried as a juvenile, meaning he will face a maximum term of three years in a reform facility if convicted.
A lawyer present in the court said India's Juvenile Justice Board announced the decision after accepting the suspect's school documents indicating that he was under 18 years old at the time of the December 16 attack.
The teenager does not possess a birth certificate -- a common occurrence in India, where many babies are not born in a hospital.
Police allege that the five men and the teenager raped and severely beat the victim on a bus in New Delhi before dumping her and a male friend in the road. They also penetrated her repeatedly with a metal bar, injuring her so badly that she died of massive organ failure at a Singapore hospital two weeks later.
The assault set off a wave of protests across India, opening a debate about the country's widespread violence against women.