Juvenile Released in December 16 Case, Leaves Many Distraught
Parents of Jyoti Singh at the front
NEW DELHI: All hopes dashed for the parents and scores of other supporters of Jyoti Singh, the victim of December 16 gang rape, when Supreme Court rejected the last ditch attempt made by Delhi commission of women (DCW) to make the juvenile, the sixth convict in the case, stay under a correctional home for an extended period.
The juvenile accused, who was 17 at the time of the crime, was scheduled to be released on December 20 after three years of detention in a correctional facility for underage convicts, which he has duly been, and as per media reports, he has been kept in a shelter home under and NGO for the time being.
After a plea which was filed by BJP member Subramanyam Swamy for a stay on juvenile’s release in High Court was rejected on Friday, a special leave petition was submitted by DCW chief Swati Maliwal in Supreme court, seeking an extension in the probation period of the convict, citing his “unremorseful” attitude and a possible “radicalization” after having come in contact with other juvenile convicts. The petition was filed on Saturday late in evening.
"We cannot interpret the law (Juvenile Justice Act) to curtail his (juvenile convict) freedom without legislative sanction. We share your concern, but we cannot go beyond the statute," Justice U.U. Lalit, one of the judges on the Bench led by Justice A.K. Goel, observed.
The Court cited its inability to extend the period of detention for the convict since the latter has already served the maximum time reserved in cases of crime committed by juveniles. It said that there’s no law to back such a move.
When the counsel appearing on behalf of DCW pointed out the possible deviant nature of the juvenile and pleaded for the stay, the court retorted back saying that the reformation can take ten years, 15 years and the convict can’t be confined for an indefinite period and there wasn’t any provision to allow such a decree.
"Are you for the rehabilitation of the child or for the detention of the child?" Justice Goel asked the counsel who was making a case for the depraved mentality of the accused and his being a possible threat to the society.
The apex court concluded the hearing saying the DCW counsel had no case.
The decision which came in the morning has left many dejected who had been rooting for a sterner punishment for the juvenile. The victim’s mother, Asha Devi,broke down on camera saying that there’s no hope left for her and justice has been denied to her daughter. “This is happening to us now, and it will happen to many more later. When will they change the law which lets a rapist get away,” she said on a news channel minutes after the verdict came.
The release of the juvenile has aggravated many people who have been following the case since it has been widely known that it was the 17 year old who was most barbaric in his role during the gang-rape. He is from Badaun in western Uttar Pradesh and had run away from his home at the age of eight.