December 16 gangrape: Process for release begins, juvenile may stay on at new home

Sources said the implementation of the Delhi High Court order to release him had begun, but the juvenile may continue to stay at the NGO home.

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi | Updated: December 20, 2015 7:07 am
Nirbhaya, Nirbhaya verdict, Nirbhaya parents detained, Nirbhaya gangrape, December 16 gangrape, juvenile justice The mother at home in Badaun district. (Express photo by Gajendra Yadav)

DAYS before his scheduled release from the observation home he had been incarcerated in for three years, the juvenile convicted in the December 16, 2012, Delhi gangrape was moved to an NGO-run rehabilitation home to “begin mainstreaming”.

Sources said the implementation of the Delhi High Court order to release him had begun, but the juvenile may continue to stay at the NGO home.

The Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) has directed the government’s Women and Child Development and Social Welfare Department to maintain confidentiality, and said they would keep it in the loop on the steps taken for rehabilitation of the juvenile.

Amid heated debate over whether he should be released, the convict was shifted to the NGO home in secrecy, with not even the staff of the home being aware of the real identity of their new resident. Sources said he had consented to being shifted to the new home.

As he is now at the NGO-run home, sources said the “legality” of his “release” from the juvenile observation centre at the end of the three-year incarceration may have been fulfilled.

The JJB order by which the convict was transferred to the new home did not mention his name. To protect the identity of juvenile offenders under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children Act), JJB orders mention the FIR number and case details while the name of the juvenile is redacted.

His new home, situated inside a compound with 12-foot high walls topped with barbed wire, and barred gates, has teaching classes, meditation, yoga, group counselling, vocational training, sports and other activities for its residents. Trained counsellors and peer counselling are part of the sessions.

The juveniles are encouraged to support each other and study, and given ‘life skills’ training, including on anger management, communication and maintaining positive relationships.

Staffers talk of a ‘Just for today’ pledge that the inmates take everyday. Says a staffer, “They vow, ‘I will not do anything to harm any being today. I may do so tomorrow’. And that tomorrow never comes.”

Some of the former inmates of the centre had returned to work with others as “peer counselors”, staffers add.

“We did not know the new transferee is that particular (convict),” a staff member told The Sunday Express. “It makes no difference to us. We are here to help these children get rehabilitated and become better.”

In its Friday order, the Delhi High Court had directed the JJB to provide for a “mainstreaming and rehabilitation plan” for the convict, in consultation with his family and WCD officials. The post-release rehabilitation plan formulated by the government and submitted to the court had included a proposal to sanction money for his family members to come to Delhi for a counselling session, and then to “drop” the boy to his “parental village” accompanied by WCD officials.

However, the convict’s family told The Sunday Express they had not been asked to visit Delhi for any such counselling session so far.

Advocate A P Singh, who represented the juvenile in the early stages of his trial, said he was present at the “post-release plan meeting”, held in November. The inputs of the family were reportedly taken over a phone conversation with his mother in the village, he added.

His mother denied this too to The Sunday Express.

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