NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the plea of Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal against the release of the juvenile convict of the December 16, 2012, gang-rape and murder case, stating that no one can take away “somebody’s right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution”.
The Rajya Sabha will take up the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2015 for consideration and passage.
After the apex court refused to stay the release of the juvenile, parents of the victim — Asha Singh and Badrinath Singh — decided to take to the streets. On Sunday, the juvenile convict had walked out of a special home and was handed over to staff of a non-government organisation at an undisclosed location in Delhi.
“If anything has to be done, it has to be done according to the law. We have to enforce the law,” a Vacation Bench comprising justices A K Goel and U U Lalit said while refusing to entertain the plea of Maliwal filed in her official capacity as Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief.
The Bench disagreed with the plea that the juvenile offender can be subjected to reformation process for a further period of two years under the juvenile law.
As counsel for the Commission cited provisions that the delinquent juvenile can be allowed to go through further reformation process, the bench said: “Will we not be taking away somebody’s right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. There is nothing in the law to provide that.”
The counsel for the Commission assailed the order of the Delhi High Court saying that it did not consider the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act. The counsel also cited a Central Intelligence Agency report which indicated that the juvenile had been radicalised after getting to know an accused in the 2011 Delhi High Court blast case.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Centre, supported the DCW’s submissions saying that the juvenile can be kept under observation till such time the reformation process was on.
“You are supporting them without making the law. There must be some legislative sanction behind it. In no case it can get extended. We share your concern, but cannot do anything without legislative sanction,” the Bench further pointed out.
Immediately after the Supreme Court dismissed the plea, Maliwal termed it a “black day” for women, saying that the country had been “cheated” as a proposed law which could have allowed stronger punishment to him remained pending in Rajya Sabha. “It is a black day for women in the history of the country. I also believe that the Rajya Sabha has cheated the country by keeping the law pending which could have facilitated stronger punishment for juveniles in heinous crimes,” Maliwal said, referring to the Bill to amend the Juvenile Justice Act which remained stuck in the Rajya Sabha.
She also further pointed out, “Yesterday, I had met (Vice President) Hamid Ansari ji and he had assured me that he will produce it. I am very happy that tomorrow it will be produced. I appeal to all the MPs to unite to pass this Bill, otherwise it will be a tight slap to all the Nirbhayas of the nation.”
In a dramatic post-midnight move on Saturday, Maliwal had approached the Supreme Court to stay the juvenile convict’s release.