Tamil Diplomat

Juvenile convict’s release: Case referred to vacation bench

The Special Leave Petition filed by DCW against the order of the Delhi HC was referred by the Chief Justice of India T S Thakur before a vacation bench of justices A K Goel and U U Lalit. The Supreme Court in the weehours of Sunday agreed to take on board a petition filed by Delhi Commission for Women against the release of the juvenile convict in the Nirbhaya gangrape case. The apex court vacation bench judge, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, listed the petition to be heard on Monday (December 21) as item number three in the case list.

Now since the matter of his release is sub judice before the Supreme Court, there is a question mark on what the Delhi Police would do. They have to decide whether or not to wait for a final word from the apex court on Monday on the convict’s release. Hours before the release of the juvenile convict in the horrific Nirbhaya gangrape case, high drama played outside Chief Justice of India Tirath Singh Thakur’s residence at Motilal Nehru Marg with Delhi Commission for Women seeking an urgent hearing in the Supreme Court against his release.

DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal tweeted “trying to move Supreme Court in Nirbhaya’s case Registrar of the court presently has called for the papers”. She then went on to tweet “This struggle is for all Nirbhayas across the country. The entire nation is looking towards Hon’ble Supreme Court with a lot of hope”. Lawyers connected with the DCW case said the juvenile has already been whisked away to a location near his village in Uttar Pradesh, where he would be released. The DCW lawyers led by advocate Devadutt Kamat quoted provisions in the Juvenile Justice Act to contend that proviso in Section 16 of the statute allows an additional period of three years beyond the three already prescribed in the Act.

The lawyers claimed that there is credible Intelligence Bureau report suggesting that there would be violence in case of his release directed against him. The petition filed in the Supreme Cpourt said the convict’s mental condition is such that he may still repeat such offences and he is still a threat to society. The petition, according to the lawyers, said an independent committee should review his psychological situation and see if he is in anyway fit for social reformation.

The petition also claimed that even the convict’s life is under threat as he may be released outside his village where there is a possibility that he would be lynched. The case has been in the spotlight 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 dunadult, beyond December 20, a Division Bench of the High Court had directed theJuvenile 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 court was passing orders on a 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.

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. The victim’s family has been running from pillar to post seeking justice, demanding rigorous punishment and amendments in the juvenile law given the magnitude of the heinous crime committed on December 16, 2012. “Crime has won and we have lost (jurm jeet gaya, hum haar gaye)” was the immediate reaction of the family of the victim (The Hindu, 2015).