As the juvenile convict in the December 16 gang rape case is set to walk out of a correction home, child rights activists have questioned the manner in which the government is trying reform him.
The convict, who as per the police records was among the most violent of the rapists, may be handed over to an NGO. About to turn 21, the convict is scheduled to be released on December 15, after which he would be handed over an NGO in the name of an ‘after care’ programme.
Experts say the move would destroy the basic premise of the juvenile justice system.
“If it is voluntary and non-custodial then it is welcome. If not, then I believe government is presuming he cannot be reformed. The whole purpose of having a juvenile justice system is to let the juvenile reform and even his record is destroyed so that he can start life afresh. What will they do if he runs away from the NGO’s home,” said Harsh Mander, a social worker.
Mander said the government had already exposed his religious identity and instead of keeping him for a longer period, they should improve the reform system.
Amod Kanth, who runs Prayas, an NGO, and a programme ‘Yuva Connect’ in which minors after leaving the reform home are kept for after care, also said that the government must improve the reform system.
“There is a provision in the juvenile justice act of an after care programme and we help those who come out of juvenile home after serving their sentence. But there should be a proper policy for it,” said Kanth.
The convict under detention for gang rape has showed his interest in cooking during reformation in the north Delhi’s Majnu Ka Tila shelter home.
The counsellors said he opened up rarely and spoke to those whom he felt comfortable with. He was illiterate when he was brought to the reformatory but later showed some interest in learning and is able to write his name now.
“Such convicts should be tracked since the government doesn’t have a proper reformation programme. Someone should decide that the person has been reformed after staying in the observation home; otherwise there is no purpose of keeping him there,” said Arun Mathur, chairperson of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR).