December 16 gangrape ‘juvenile’ to be released: HC

New Delhi, Dec 18 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Friday said the December 16, 2012, Delhi gang-rape “juvenile” convict’s stay can’t be extended in an observation home.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said the convict, who was found to be a juvenile at the time of the crime, cannot be kept at the observation home beyond December 20, the date he was set to be released.

“There can’t be any direction to extend the stay beyond December 20,” said the bench.

The bench also directed that the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) shall interact with the juvenile, his parents/guardians as well as the concerned officials of the department of women and child development of the Delhi government regarding his “post-release rehabilitation and social mainstreaming”.

“Since we are of the view that the legal issue raised in the main writ petition, i.e., the need for ascertaining the factum of reformation of the juveniles in conflict with law before they are released from the Special Home on expiry of the period of stay ordered by the Juvenile Justice Board, is a larger issue of public importance which requires deeper consideration,” said court.

It asked the government to file response on the issue within eight weeks.

The court also impleaded the department of women and child development as party in the case and issued notice, while posting the matter for March 28, 2016.

The court’s order came on Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea against the release of the “unreformed” juvenile convict.

The central government had told the court that the juvenile’s stay in an observation home should be extended till all aspects including mental health and post-release rehabilitation plans are considered by the authorities.

The juvenile, who was under 18 when arrested for the brutal rape and murder of a para-medical student on December 16, 2012, was tried under the Juvenile Justice Act. He was ordered to be kept in a remand home for three years.

The court had earlier sought Intelligence Bureau (IB) report about him having been radicalised, in a sealed cover. The IB had raised suspicion of the juvenile being radicalised after being shifted with a juvenile apprehended in connection with the Delhi High Court blast case.

Swamy in his plea asked the court to pass order that “such unreformed juvenile should not be released until it is demonstrably assured that he has reformed, ceased to be radicalised and is not a menace to the society”.

A trial court had awarded death penalty to four rapists which was upheld by the high court. Out of the six convicts, one was found dead in Tihar Jail and the juvenile was sent to reform home.

The appeals for four convicts are pending before the Supreme Court.

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