New Delhi: Even as the Delhi High Court on Friday refused to stay the release of juvenile convict in the December 16th Delhi gang-rape and murder case, saying he cannot be stopped from walking free under the existing provisions of law, the Delhi Commission for Women urged President Pranab Mukherjee and Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur to stop release of juvenile convict.
In a letter to them, chairperson of the commission Swati Maliwal said the convict's mental state needs to be assessed.
She added that the juvenile should not be freed in larger public interest. She said she has also written to the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court and the Chairman of the Juvenile Justice Board to take cognisance of the matter and stop his release until a mental health assessment was done.
Brushing aside the public outcry against his release, a Bench comprising Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath directed the Juvenile Justice Board to interact with the convict, his parents and concerned officials of the Department of Women and Child Development regarding his "rehabilitation and social mainstreaming".
The Bench observed that BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's plea, seeking stay on the release of the juvenile convict "could not be allowed as the statutory and existing law was coming in its way".
The convict is now all set to walk free on Sunday after spending three years in a remand home.
Six people, including the juvenile, had brutally assaulted and raped a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16, 2012, who died in a Singapore hospital on December 29.
The incident had sparked a widespread condemnation from all quarters and propelled thousands of people to come out on the streets.
The distraught family of the victim has rued the High Court's refusal to stay the release of the juvenile, saying, "Crime has won and we have lost (Jurm jeet gaya, hum haar gaye)."
Asha Devi, mother of the victim, said, "Despite, all our efforts, the criminal will walk free."
She said their three-year-old battle for justice has gone in vain.
The victim's father also expressed disappointment over the order, saying it should have had a deterrent effect.
Reacting to amendment in Juvenile Act, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi blamed the Rajya Sabha for not passing the Bill to amend the Juvenile Justice Act, which seeks stringent punishment for children aged between 16 and 18 involved in heinous crimes.
Reacting to it, Union Minister Uma Bharti said she was concerned over the proposed release of juvenile as he may be a threat to the society.
Three days back, the National Human Rights Commission had issued summons to the Delhi Chief Secretary, Delhi Police Commissioner and Union Home Secretary in connection with the impending release of the juvenile and asked reports within two weeks.
Allegedly, the most brutal of all the six offenders, the juvenile convict is likely to walk free on Sunday after his three-year sentence at a correction home gets over.