Centre seeks more time to release Dec 16 juvenile gang rape convict
The Centre on Monday sought to extend the stay of a December 16 gang-rape convict at an observation home to ascertain if he has been appropriately reformed and no longer pose any threat to society.india Updated: Dec 14, 2015 14:37 IST
The Centre on Monday sought to extend the stay of a December 16 gang rape convict at an observation home to ascertain if he has been appropriately reformed and no longer pose any threat to society before setting him free.
The 21-year-old convict, who was a juvenile when he and five others raped and brutally murdered a 23-year-old paramedical student inside a bus in the Capital in 2012, is to be released on Tuesday.
The government told a Delhi high court bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath that it needed to verify reports that the young man — a native of Badaun in Uttar Pradesh — has undergone religious radicalisation from a fellow boarder at the correctional home for underage criminals.
The court had earlier sought Intelligence Bureau report about him having been radicalised after meeting a juvenile arrested in connection with the 2011 Delhi high court blast.
The government also argued that several mandatory requirements were missing from the post-release rehab plan of the convict who was reportedly the most brutal in the gang.
Additional solicitor general Sanjay Jain, representing the government, told the bench that the convict is set to be freed on December 20, not on Tuesday, according to records.
The Centre said it has to confirm through various means, including assessing his mental health, if the convict was reformed at all during his three years in the correctional home.
The court later reserved its order on BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea that the convict should not be released till it is “demonstrably assured” that he has reformed and is no longer a menace to society.
Swamy cited a home ministry report in his petition and said the “juvenile has not been reformed and has become worse” as he was radicalised by a fellow convict.
He told the court that it can “circumscribe” the convict’s movements, although his term may have ended.
“My guess is that the high court will set a new standard so that juveniles who commit heinous crimes do not have an easy out just by claiming to be juveniles,” he told reporters, reacting to Monday’s hearing.
The high court had upheld a trial court verdict awarding death penalty to four rapists and sending one, who was a juvenile, to a reform home. Out of the six convicts, one was found dead in Tihar jail. The appeals for the four convicts are pending before the Supreme Court.
The victim’s father on Monday said the convict must not be freed. “It is not about being a juvenile or an adult, but about the crime. He is a threat to society. If he can sit inside a jail and learn to be a jihadi, imagine what he can do outside,” he said.
The bus gang rape was seen as a watershed moment, triggering nationwide protests and throwing a global spotlight on gender violence in the world’s second most populous country. It forced authorities to tighten laws on sex crimes, allowing for death sentences to repeat rape offenders.
(With inputs from agencies)
First Published: Dec 14, 2015 13:21 IST