New Delhi: The juvenile convict of the horrific December 16 gangrape case was today released and sent to an NGO after DCW’s last ditch effort to block it through a stay order from the Supreme Court failed, prompting protests by the victim’s distraught parents who assailed the Centre and Delhi government for failing to get them justice.
Government sources said he will be under the care of an NGO till the Delhi Government finalises a rehabilitation plan for the convict who is now 20 years old and was known to be the most brutal of the six attackers.
His freedom came as parents of the gangrape victim continued their protest for the second day today along with activists demanding death penalty for him. Police detained the parents and hundreds of other protesters who had gathered at India Gate to oppose the release of the youngest convict.
“We have left him with an NGO,” police sources said.
The convict was released after the Supreme Court in a post-midnight order declined to stay the release of the juvenile offender in response to a Special Leave Petition filed by the the Delhi Commission for Women.
“How many more rapes, how many more murders will have to take place for the government to change laws related to juveniles. I want (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji to consider giving us two minutes (for a meeting),” said Asha Devi, mother of the victim.
Angry at the police for detaining the protesters at India Gate, she said,”The youth who should have been put behind bars has been allowed to walk out free. And we who have suffered a lot, are being chased by police. We are heart broken.”
In their order pronounced at 2 AM, a vacation bench comprising Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit declined to give an urgent hearing to the Delhi Commission for Women on its petition seeking a stay on his release and posted the matter for hearing on Monday.
Government sources said when asked two days back whether he would like to go home in Badaun in Uttar Pradesh or to an NGO, the juvenile convict had opted for the latter citing security concerns.
“We are helpless as far as the release is concerned. Our government, whether Centre or state, they only listen to you when you protest and get lathicharged, else they don’t care,” said the victim’s father Badri Singh Pandey.
Asha Devi, the victim’s mother said, “All knew that he will be released, so adequate steps should have been taken in the past three years.
The convict, along with five others, had gangraped and
murdered the 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus on December 16, 2012, an incident that shook the nation and led to widespread protests.
He was sentenced to three years in a reform home ‘Place of Safety’ in north Delhi’s Magazine Road by Juvenile Justice Board, a punishment which drew criticism from several people who claimed it was inadequate and disproportionate to the gruesomeness of the crime he had committed. There were also demands that he be tried in an adult court. The Juvenile Justice Act provides for a maximum sentence of three years in a correctional facility.
The Special Leave Petition filed by DCW against the order of the Delhi High Court refusing to restrain the release of the convict, was referred by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur to the vacation bench.
Lawyers associated with the case, including senior advocate Guru Krishna Kumar and Devdutt Kamath, had rushed to Justice Goel’s residence at around 1.30 AM after Maliwal was told by the Registrar that the matter has been assigned to the vacation bench.
Appealing against the High Court order, the DCW had contended that no assessment of the state of mind of the juvenile offender had been done before his release. The SLP has also stated that though the High Court was of the view that there was a need for mental assessment of the convict, there was no direction that before his release the authorities should go for a health and mental check up of the offender.
Kamath said that there were intelligence reports that even during his stay at the correction home, the convict was unremorseful about his action and had been further radicalised. The petition contended it cannot be said that he was not a threat to the society.
The convict was yesterday taken to an undisclosed location from the correction home amid concerns about possible threat to his life.
The Delhi government has said it had submitted a rehabilitation plan for the juvenile convict under which a one-time financial grant of Rs 10,000 will be provided and a sewing machine arranged so he can start a tailoring shop.