NEW DELHI: At 5.45 pm on Sunday, the juvenile convict in the December 16, 2012, horrific gang-rape and murder case of a 23-year-old paramedical student walked out of a special home in northeast Delhi carrying his belongings, including clothes, and was handed over to the staff of a non-government organisation at an undisclosed destination in the national capital.
Sources said the juvenile will get a new identity and the NGO will engage him in social work for the first few months and thereafter he will be on his own. Express had reported on Saturday that he will be handed over to the NGO and his identity will be completely changed post-release.
Vinay Kumar, additional director at the State Department of Women and Child Development, had arranged the minor’s entire post-release rehabilitation process and as per Rule 17 (12) of the Delhi Juvenile Justice Care and Protection Rule 2009, the convict, who is not an adult, was given an aid of Rs 10,000 to buy tools and other items to restart his life. On the direction of Kumar, he was handed over to the non-government organisation.
The juvenile was released amid huge protests in the city, with the gang-rape victim’s parents — Asha Singh and Badrinath Singh — continuing their opposition to his release for the second consecutive day, along with activists. They also demanded the death penalty for him.
People in large numbers, including Asha and Badrinath, gathered at India Gate in the evening to protest the release of the juvenile despite the police beefing up security to avert any violence. After almost an hour, they were evicted from India Gate and later dropped at Mukherjee Nagar.
“Our fight is on the issue that he (juvenile convict) must not come out. If he comes out then what is the point of hearing (by Supreme Court) or any other thing,” said Asha. Badrinath said, “The rapist can move around freely in the capital once he is released. It is not justice.” He also expressed his unhappiness over the Central and Delhi governments’ approach and opposed their apparent helplessness on the release of the juvenile. “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,” he said.
Interestingly, the Department of Women and Child Development of the Arvind Kejriwal-led government refrained from sharing any information about the juvenile’s release with the Delhi Police, despite people taking to streets protesting the move. “We were not kept in the loop,” said a top police officer.
Though in a dramatic post-midnight move, the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) approached the Supreme Court to stay the juvenile’s release, it proved futile. The Supreme Court refused to stay his release by giving an urgent hearing. A vacation bench of justices A K Goel and U U Lalit in their order pronounced at 2 am posted the matter for hearing on Monday.
However, DCW chairperson Swati Maliwal had said, “I hope the government and Delhi Police wait for one day and not release him.” When the juvenile was released, she said, “How many more Nirbhayas will we create before we change system?”
The victim’s parents said the DCW should have done it earlier. The special leave petition filed by DCW against the order of the Delhi HC, which refused to restrain the release of the convict, was referred by CJI T S Thakur to the vacation bench.
However, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy pointed out the “provisions” that have to be applied before he is formally released. “According to rules of the Juvenile Justice Act, he can be left out from the custody of the Juvenile Justice Board, but he cannot be released as a free person till the Management Committee, appointed for the purpose, decides whether he is mentally sound, whether he has socially mainstreamed and that he has reformed.”
DCW Bid Fails
The Delhi Commission for Women’s late night effort on Saturday to stall the juvenile’s release failed after the Supreme Court post-midnight held a sitting and refused to stay it; in its order, the court declined to stop the release and posted the matter before a vacation bench that will hear the matter on Monday
Questioning the role of the Centre and Delhi government, Nirbhaya’s parents asked why they did not take action earlier to stop the imminent release of the juvenile convict