Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal on Friday sought the intervention of the Chief Justice and President Pranab Mukherjee against the release of the juvenile convict in the December 16 gangrape case, saying he must be kept in an observation home until his reformation is ascertained.
Terming the Delhi high court’s refusal to stay the release of the juvenile as a “dark day” in the history of the country, Maliwal shot off letters to Mukherjee, Chief Justice TS Thakur and the principal magistrate of the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), Murari Prasad Singh.
“In light of the particularly heinous nature of the crime executed by this boy, the DCW requests your Hon’ble self to kindly intervene in the matter and ensure that the boy be kept in the observation home at least until his mental frame of mind and reformation is properly ascertained (sic),” she wrote in the letter.
“If your Hon’ble self deems fit, a committee may be set up consisting of the DCW and the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) with directions to create a team of the best counsellors from across the country to visit the boy at the home and assess the current mental state of the boy and the quality of reformation that he has undergone,” she added.
“The findings of the team may assist your Hon’ble self in taking a decision in the case,” Maliwal added.
Referring to the high court order, Maliwal said that though she understood the governments and the courts were bound by the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, it was necessary to assess the mental condition of the youth in larger public interest, as he is viewed as a threat to the society.
Maliwal also sought Mukherjee’s intervention for the quick passage of the Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill.
“It is imperative that the Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill which seeks to reduce the juvenile age to 16 years in certain categories of cases is pending with the Rajya Sabha is passed along with the requisite amendments for putting in place strong review mechanism of the mental reformation undergone by a juvenile convict before his or her release.
“I request you to kindly intervene for the quick passage of the said bill,” she said.
The DCW chairperson said that “recently Nirbhaya’s parents had met me and expressed their deep anguish over the imminent release. Their anger and anguish is shared by many citizens of Delhi, including me. In addition, people are unaware of the supposed reformation the said boy has undergone and worry about him repeating the offence...
“Since the status of the boy’s mental reformation has not been properly ascertained, in larger public interest it may be pertinent to detain him at least until the same is done,” she wrote.
Brushing aside the public outcry against his release, the HC said on Friday BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea seeking a stay on the release of juvenile convict cannot be allowed as the statutory and existing law was coming in its way.
The parents of the victim termed the decision of the court as completely in “favour of criminals”.
“This decision has come to me as a mental shock. Though I am severely hurt with the decision of the court, but we cannot do anything now. We are helpless,” the father of the victim told reporters outside the court.
“I am not satisfied with the court’s decision. Today’s decision only means that whatever crime happens with women, the law is not going to be changed. Crime has won and we have lost. I feel as if our fight has ended incomplete,” said her mother.
Six people, including the juvenile, had been arrested for brutally raping and injuring a para-medical student, leading to her death.
Out of the six, one was found dead in Tihar Jail and the juvenile was tried under the Juvenile Justice Act, under which he was sent to a remand home for three years. A trial court had awarded death penalty to the other four rapists which was upheld by the high court. Their appeals are pending before the Supreme Court.