The Delhi high court on Friday refused to stop the release of a December 16 gangrape convict, who was a juvenile when he and five men brutally raped and murdered a paramedical student in the Capital in 2012.
The convict, now 21, has almost completed his mandatory three-year stay at a correctional home and is set to walk free on December 20.
The verdict cancels out demands by civil society groups and individuals to extend his stay at the detention centre, citing reports that a fellow inmate had radicalised him.
Taken aback by the court ruling, the distraught parents of the gangrape victim said “Crime has won and we have lost (Jurm jeet gaya, hum haar gaye).”
“Despite all our efforts for three years, our government and our courts have released a criminal. The assurance we were given that we would get justice, that has not been delivered. We are very disappointed. “We haven’t seen him, not met him, but despite all our efforts, the criminal will walk free,” Asha Devi, mother of the victim, said, adding their three-year-old battle for justice has gone in vain.
The court said it cannot prohibit the convict’s release and asked the juvenile justice board to interact with him, his guardians and officials of the Delhi government on his post-release rehabilitation.
Earlier it was reported that instead of heading home after completing his sentence, the convict may spend a year with an NGO to ensure he is adequately rehabilitated and pose no threat to society.
But activist Amod Kanth said the convict would have to give his consent for “after care” by an NGO since he has served his full sentence.
The convict escaped the gallows because he was 17 years and nine months old at the time of his arrest. Three of his co-accused are on death row.
Just weeks before his release, the victim’s parents had approached the National Human Rights Commission pleading its intervention to stop the convict’s release.
Police had originally planned a quiet release, sensing a visible threat to his life.
The lenient sentence of three years given to juveniles also sparked a nationwide debate with a section of people seeking the lowering of the age limit for heinous crimes like rape and murder.
On December 1, Union minister Maneka Gandhi had also said she was writing to home ministry requesting that the convict be tracked once released.
( Source – PTI )