SC bound by law in juvenile’s release issue and public anger grows
GN Bureau | December 21, 2015
The supreme court today rejected a petition filed by the Delhi commission for women against the release of the juvenile convict in what is known as the Nirbhaya gang-rape case, saying it "shared" the concern of general citizens' but its hands were "tied" by the law.
Minutes after the topmost court of the country dismissed the plea, the victim’s mother said “I knew this would happen, I am not surprised. All courts have given up. What’s there in having any hope? Now all the people below 18 years of age have been given a certificate to commit rape.”
“If people have not learnt any lesson from Nirbhaya case, then what can one expect?” asked the victim’s mother.
“What sort of a crime needs to be committed to change our laws?”, she asked.
The vacation bench of justices AK Goel and UU Lalit said "we share your concern but our hands are tied by the existing law. There has to be clear legislative sanction to extend the detention period beyond 3 years. Under the present law, detention cannot be extended beyond three years."
The court said it could act in accordance with law and not contrary to law.
Appearing for DCW, senior advocate Guru Krishnakumar and advocate Devadatta Kamat told the court that the juvenile had not undergone any reform programme which was mandatory under law.
The DCW also said there were report from Intelligence Bureau that the juvenile has been radicalised and there were chances of he repeating the crime.
The special leave petition, filed by DCW chief Swati Maliwal late on Saturday night, wanted the juvenile not to be released until his mental reformation is not ascertained. "It's a black day for women," Maliwal told reporters after the verdict.
The convict in Nirbhaya gang-rape case is now 20 years old. He was a juvenile in 2012 when he committed the heinous crime along with his friends in a moving bus in the national capital. The court found him guilty of raping and assaulting the victim, who later died in hospital, along with five accomplices.
Since he was a juvenile, he was tried under the Juvenile Justice Act and was ordered to be kept in a remand home for three years. He was moved to the supervision of an NGO on Sunday.
The prospect of the juvenile walking free has revived public anger over the attack, with protests held on Sunday near the India Gate, where the mother of the victim was dragged away by the police.
The victim’s parents will now stage another protest against the supreme court verdict at Jantar Mantar at 4 pm on Monday.
Joseph A Cannataci is the UN’s first and current special rapporteur for the right to privacy appointed by the Human Rights Council (HRC) in July 2015. His appointment came with growing global concerns about threats to privacy in the digital age where governments and big corporations collect mass da
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