Minister of state for home affairs RPN Singh on Sunday said that the juvenile accused in the Delhi gang-rape case was given the maximum punishment under the juvenile law, and added that the government functions in accordance with the law and not out of vengeance.
"I understand that a lot of people are disappointed with the verdict of the Juvenile Justice Board. He has been given the maximum punishment possible under juvenile law. People are demanding a stringent punishment but that can only happen if the laws are changed. Government cannot function with anger; it can only function according to the law. At least we know that the juvenile was given maximum punishment under the juvenile law," he told media in Lucknow on Sunday.
The Juvenile Justice Board on Saturday declared the youngest accused in the December 16, 2012 gang-rape case, guilty of all charges and sent him to a reformatory home for three years.
The parents of the 23-year-old girl, who was assaulted and raped by six men in a moving bus, expressed their displeasure with the verdict and said that they would challenge the ruling.
"This kind of justice is meaningless, unacceptable. If the accused gets only three years for rape and murder, he might as well be allowed to go free," said the victim's mother.
The girl's family had asked for the death penalty for all six men accused of the barbaric attack and said the juvenile should be tried as an adult as a special case, given the sheer depravity of the crime.
Hours after the verdict, women and girls here expressed their disappointment and demanded immediate reconsideration of the verdict.
Janice, a college student, said the punishment is very less because when the accused committed such a crime, he was fully conscious of it.
"I think the government should reconsider this, three years is very less for a crime like rape," she said.
The fatal attack on the 23-year-old physiotherapy intern provoked national outrage and impelled an overhaul of archaic laws to punish sexual crimes against women.
The juvenile was one of the six accused arrested in the case. While the juvenile faced inquiry before the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), the four adult accused are being tried before a fast track court.
The 23-year-old paramedical student was raped, beaten and tortured by six men on a moving bus in South Delhi area on December 16 last year.
The victim later died of internal injuries in a Singapore hospital two weeks later.