A New Delhi court found the teen guilty of rape and murder, the Press Trust of India reported. He was acquitted of the attempted murder of the victim's male companion.
Because the defendant was 17 at the time of the gang rape in December, the court could impose no more than three years, to be served in a home for delinquent teens. He will also get credit for the time he has spent in custody.
The gang rape on a bus in New Delhi made headlines in India and around the world. The victim, a 23-year-old paramedic, was returning from a movie with her friend when they were attacked.
She was severely injured and died days later in a hospital in Singapore.
Her mother was furious at the sentence given the teen, the first person to be convicted of the attack.
"There was no need for these proceedings. We have been fooled. I don't accept the judgement. What was the need for keeping us waiting for the whole day," she said.
Four adults charged in the case are in custody and awaiting trial. Another suspect, Ram Singh, was found dead in his jail cell in March.