The Delhi High Court has turned down the plea of Dr. Subramanian Swamy not to release Nirbhaya’s rapist who is set to be released from the Special Home holding that the maximum stay that can be directed in the Special Home under Section 15(1) of the Act is three years and since the convict would be completing the period of three years by 20.12.2015, no direction could be issued to continue his stay in the Special Home beyond 20.12.2015.
The Court however, having taken note of the relevant statutory provisions in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 directed the Juvenile Justice Board-II, Delhi to interact with the convict, his parents/guardians as well as the concerned officials of the Department of Women and Child Development, Govt. of NCT of Delhi regarding the post-release rehabilitation and social mainstreaming of the convict and pass appropriate orders in accordance with the provisions of the Act and Rules.
Dr. Swamy had approached the Delhi High Court apprehending that release of juveniles in conflict with the law who had committed heinous crimes like rape, such as the convict in the Nirbhaya rape case, at the end of their stay in the Special Home without ascertaining the extent of their reformation for their social re-integration, would be a menace to the society.
Further, Dr. Swamy had specifically alleged in his writ petition that the juvenile who was convicted in Nirbhaya gang rape case, continues to be unreformed and “indeed has become radicalised by association with another juvenile convicted for his involvement in Delhi High Court blast case on 07.09.2011, during his stay in Special Home.”
Accordingly he had sought the passing of an order that such unreformed juvenile not be released until it is demonstrably assured that he has reformed, ceased to be radicalised and is not a menace to society.
Supporting Dr. Subramanian Swamy’s plea, the Central Government through ASG Mr. Sanjay Jain, submitted that the stay of the Nirbhaya case convict in the Special Home needs to be extended since there is no material to establish his mental state, more particularly, in the absence of any specific proposal for his post-release rehabilitation as required under the statutory rules.
Though notice was directed to be served on the respondent No.1 through the Juvenile Justice Board, there was no appearance on his behalf.
A bench of the Delhi High Court led by Chief Justice G. Rohini after surveying the various provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act held that “having regard to the fact that the maximum stay that can be directed in the Special Home under Section 15(1) of the Act is three years and that the respondent No.1 would be completing the period of three years by 20.12.2015, there cannot be any direction to continue his stay in the Special Home beyond 20.12.2015. Hence, we decline to issue any direction as prayed by the petitioner.”
The Court however observed that the legal issue raised in the main writ petition, i.e., the need for ascertaining the factum of reformation of the juveniles in conflict with law before they are released from the Special Home on expiry of the period of stay ordered by the Juvenile Justice Board, is a larger issue of public importance which requires deeper consideration and directed the Centre to file its response within eight weeks. The Court also impleaded the Govt. of NCT of Delhi, Department of Women and Child Development as additional respondents in the matter and listed the main case for further consideration on 28.03.2016.
Read the order here.