December 16 gangrape: Supreme Court refuses to block release of juvenile

Currently with the Rajya Sabha, the proposed amendments to the Act entail a stringent scrutiny of the mental and physical capacity of juveniles offenders aged between 16 and 18 years when they are found involved in heinous crimes.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: December 22, 2015 2:40 am
juvenile release, delhi juvenile, nirbhaya case juvenile, nirbhaya case juvenile judgement, The apex court said that they cannot act beyond the law and the Delhi government can’t ask for the juvenile’s further detention.

In an unequivocal reminder to lawmakers, the Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay the release of the juvenile convicted in the 2012 Delhi gangrape case, noting that his further detention needs a “legislative sanction” while the court has to “go by the law as it stands today”.

“We also share your concerns but we have to go by the law as it stands today. Any further detention would need a legislative sanction. The law is very clear that a juvenile cannot be detained beyond three years… so what kind of interim orders can be passed by us? If you want the court to direct for his further detention, there has to be a clear legislative sanction,” said a bench of Justices Adarsh K Goel and Uday U Lalit.

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Dismissing a petition filed by the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), the apex court also questioned the Centre and Delhi government over their attempts to block the release of the youngest offender, who has now turned 20 after spending three years in a correctional home in Delhi under the Juvenile Justice Act.

Currently with the Rajya Sabha, the proposed amendments to the Act entail a stringent scrutiny of the mental and physical capacity of juveniles offenders aged between 16 and 18 years when they are found involved in heinous crimes.

Watch Video: December 16 Gangrape Case: SC Refuses To Stay Release Of Juvenile

The delinquent in the gangrape case was a few months away from turning 18 when he, along with five other adult convicts, had raped and fatally assaulted a 23-year-old girl in Delhi on December 16, 2012. Four other convicts, who were handed out the death penalty, have appealed in the top court against the sentence while one died during the pendency of the trial.

Expressing her dismay at the order, Swati Maliwal, who had filed the petition in her official capacity as the DCW Chief, said: “I am extremely disappointed. Today is a dark day in the history of the country. The Rajya Sabha has failed the people of India by not passing the Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill.”

Earlier, as soon as DCW’s counsel Guru Krishna Kumar opened his arguments, the bench asked him: “Are we hearing you for the juvenile or against the juvenile? Are you arguing for his rehabilitation or his detention? You say the juvenile is still to be rehabilitated and there is no plan in place but you are the government. You have to do it. Why are you not doing it?”

Subsequently, when Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand submitted that the Central government supports the DCW’s plea against the juvenile’s release, especially in view of intelligence reports that he has been radicalised during his stay in the correctional home, the court questioned her: “What stand are you supporting…without changing the law?”

It went on: “Today you say detain him till he is reformed. Reformation is a process that may take seven to ten years. So how many extensions (of detention) can be given if we interpret the law as you want? Why cannot it be more than one? There must be some legislative sanction for all this.”

The court further clarified it has to issue orders within the legal framework and when the letters of the law are clear, there cannot be a case of invoking extraordinary jurisdiction or interpreting the law in a certain way, which may not be in consonance with the statutory provisions.

“There has to be a legislative sanction. We have gone through the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act and they are very clear that in no circumstances, detention can go beyond three years, including the process for reformation. Further, there is nothing in the Act which says anything contrary to the maximum period of detention provided for,” the bench told DCW’s counsel.

As Kumar sought a liberal interpretation of the Act so as to order for status quo on the release and for setting up of an independent board to examine the juvenile convict’s mental status and post-release rehabilitation plan, the court retorted that no process of interpretation can take away rights of a person under Articles 20 and 21.

Article 20 stipulates no person shall be subjected to a punishment greater than what the law existing at that time provides for whereas Article 21 ensures right to life and liberty.

“Let us not go beyond the statute. Everything has to be in accordance with the law. We are here to enforce the law,” added the bench, declining to interfere with the Delhi High Court’s order last week whereby plea for staying the juvenile convict’s release had been turned down while seeking details of his post-release rehabilitation plan.

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  1. K
    Kavitha
    Dec 21, 2015 at 8:56 am
    The Con Party lawyers, who were law ministers in UPA government, worked overtime to amend a law on how to convert a Section 25 company into a profitable company, so their masters, after the dubious share transfer deals, could enjoy the National Herald Properties. Despite the Delhi gang rape of Nirbahya happened during Congress regime both in the centre and the state, they didn't care to amend the Juvenile law to bring the 'young' criminals under adult law. Now, after BJP brought the law to include criminals under adult law regardless of age, Congress is busy disrupting Parliament because of the National Herald case, and blocking all the bills. People are watching helplessly.
    Reply
  2. R
    Rob Krishnan
    Dec 21, 2015 at 1:41 pm
    In my humble opinion, this a proud day for the supreme court and indeed India. This is called the rule of law and despite my anger at this "youth" I fully respect the SC's decision to go purely by the consution. I would certainly urge the parliament (if it is allowed to function) to amend the consution through due process and make the law relevant to the time. But, while the parliament is held for ransom, SC has done a brave thing and should be applauded for its decision. But, that is just my opinion.
    Reply
  3. R
    Rajesh
    Dec 21, 2015 at 7:52 am
    "a proposed law which could have allowed stronger punishment to him remains pending in Rajya Sabha." ...... Those CONgi b***ds should be hanged for this. s are more concerned with blocking Parliament for their Bollywood billionaires and their criminal family's National herald case than in doing anything good for the country.
    Reply
  4. S
    sham
    Dec 22, 2015 at 12:04 pm
    ban all sax websites then the crime will reduce
    Reply
  5. S
    sham
    Dec 22, 2015 at 12:09 pm
    s0nny le0ne must be made accused in the all rape cases in india .. bolloywood directors who make s0nny le0ne movies must be must be made accused in rape cases in india
    Reply
  6. S
    sham
    Dec 22, 2015 at 12:09 pm
    s0nny le0ne must be made accused in the all rape cases in india .. bolloywood directors who make s0nny le0ne movies must be must be made accused in rape cases in india
    Reply
  7. S
    sham
    Dec 22, 2015 at 12:09 pm
    s0nny le0ne must be made accused in the all rape cases in india .. bolloywood directors who make s0nny le0ne movies must be must be made accused in rape cases in india
    Reply
  8. S
    sham
    Dec 22, 2015 at 12:06 pm
    s0nny le0ne responsible for increasing crimes in india why is she not bhanned why her visa is not cancelled
    Reply
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