The juvenile delinquent in the horrific December 16, 2012, gang rape case will be set free on Sunday after the Delhi High Court on Friday ruled that his three year detention in an observation home could not be extended after its completion.
Declining to issue any direction to continue the stay of the juvenile, who is now an adult, beyond December 20, a Division Bench of the High Court directed the >Juvenile Justice Board of Delhi to interact with the boy, his parents and the Delhi government’s Women and Child Development Department officials about his post-release rehabilitation.
The petition seeking a stay on the release of the juvenile after the completion of his sentence was moved by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who claimed that the boy had been “radicalised” in the company of another boy accused in a terror case and lodged in the same observation home.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said the Juvenile Justice Board will pass appropriate orders for “social mainstreaming” of the juvenile in accordance with the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act and Rules.
In response to the petition, the Centre had sought extension of the juvenile’s stay in the observation home at Majnu Ka Tila in Delhi, till all aspects including his mental health and post-release rehabilitation plan were considered by the authorities. The court had also sought an Intelligence Bureau report, in a sealed cover, about him having been radicalised.
While asking the Union government and Juvenile Justice Board to file their response within eight weeks, the Bench directed that the Delhi government be impleaded as a respondent to the petition.
The court posted the case for further hearing on March 28, 2016, when it will consider the larger issue of ascertaining the facts about reformation of juveniles in conflict with law before they are released from special homes on the expiry of period of stay ordered by the Juvenile Justice Boards.
Victim's family disappointed
“Crime has won and we have lost (jurm jeet gaya, hum haar gaye)” was the immediate reaction of the family of the victim.
“Despite all our efforts for three years, our government and our courts have released a criminal. The assurance we were given was that we will get justice but that has not been delivered. We are very disappointed.
“Although we haven’t seen him, not met him, but despite all our efforts, the criminal will walk free,” a dejected Asha Devi, mother of the victim, told reporters.
Also read: >Delhi gang rape: Chronology of events