NEW DELHI: The Union Women and Child Development ministry on Monday welcomed the Supreme Court’s judgment upholding the death penalty for convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape case.
But there was a sense of regret that delay in taking a crucial decision — of preparing a national database of sexual offenders — has meant that the juvenile convict in the case is now untraceable after serving time in a correction home for three years.
In Madhya Pradesh, WCD minister Maneka Gandhi said that a convict had been awarded the death sentence for raping a minor girl after a new law was formulated in the state. “The determination of the Home Ministry to have a particular cell for heinous crimes such as molestation and rape of women shows that violence against women will not be tolerated,” she said.
She added the measures taken by the government will act as a strong deterrent to perpetrators of such crimes. On April 21, the Centre cleared an amendment to the POCSO Act to award death sentence to rapists of children below the age of 12.
Officials in her ministry, however, said there was also a feeling within the ministry that had the NCRB under the home ministry agreed to prepare the database earlier, as urged by the ministry, it would have been easy to keep a tab on the juvenile convict.
“We have been urging the home ministry to prepare the registry of sexual offenders, but the approval came through only recently. As a result, nobody knows and has details of the juvenile,” an official said.
In April, the Union Cabinet gave nod to preparing a registry that will have the profiles and personal details of not only convicted offenders but also those accused of such offences.
Sources added that there were reports in 2016 that the juvenile convict had changed his name and was working in a roadside eatery away from Delhi with help of an NGO.