A petition filed by the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) in the Supreme Court in 2015 claimed that the juvenile involved in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case had become “radicalised” while in the correctional home and his release from the facility after three years of detention was a danger to society.
The Commission referred to an Intelligence Bureau report on the juvenile in conflict about his three years of stay in the correctional facility.
The women’s panel said there was no evidence that he was reformed.
It asked the court to suspend his release till it was confirmed that he was truly reformed.
A Bench of Justices A.K. Goel and U.U. Lalit had disagreed.
The court said the juvenile could not be kept in confinement for an indefinite period like that.
“What do you really want … The child’s reformation or the child’s detention,” the court had asked throwing out the DCW petition.
The court had then orally observed that if the juvenile had turned out to be more of a threat after his stay at the correctional home, the facility had not lived up to the legislative intent that these institutions were supposed to be “places of safety” conducive for the juvenile’s reformation.
The much-publicised last-ditch attempt by the DCW to prevent his release began on the eve of his release in December 2015 when Commission members had knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court, with journalists hot on the trail.
The petition had made the overnight journey from the residence of then Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur, who referred it to the vacation Bench of Justices Goel and Lalit.
During this time, the Delhi Police, acting on the fact that the convict’s release was not stayed by the apex court, had already released him to a non-governmental organisation on December 20, 2015.
He had been then moved to an undisclosed location, reportedly near his village in Uttar Pradesh.
The Nirbhaya case had caused an outpouring of grief and outrage by the nature of brutality of the crime against a helpless woman.
At the time of the juvenile’s release, a new Juvenile law, which called for treating juveniles aged between 16 and 18 involved in heinous crimes, as adults was pending with the Rajya Sabha.
Public furore increased when the juvenile convict, alleged to have been the most brutal among the accused, was cleared for release by the Delhi High Court.
The victim’s family had been running from pillar to post seeking justice, demanding rigorous punishment and amendments in the Juvenile law, given the magnitude of the heinous crime of rape and murder committed on December 16, 2012.