Juvenile's release: Follow rule of law

There seems to be a concerted attempt on the part of the government and some individuals and organisations to keep the juvenile convict in the 2012 Delhi rape and murder case in the remand home beyond December 22 when he is due for release.

The government has requested the Delhi High Court to allow continued detention of the boy till the Juvenile Justice Board takes a final decision on the matter. The board has already ordered his release. But the government thinks the decision is faulty and should be reviewed. 

The government’s appeal  came  in the context of a PIL filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy seeking a stay on the juvenile’s release until  ‘’all aspects including his mental health status and post-release rehabilitation plans for him’’ are finalised.

Swamy has quoted an Intelligence Bureau(IB) report which claimed that the juvenile was radicalised in the remand home and may now have jihadi plans. He has demanded that ‘’such an unreformed juvenile should not be released until it is demonstrably assured that he has reformed, ceased to be radicalised’’.

The Additional Solicitor General has supported this view. The court is yet to take a decision on the matter.

 All these arguments and efforts seem to have arisen from a pre-conceived idea that the juvenile should not be released. Union minister, Maneka Gandhi, has already said that “we can’t just let him go and wait for him to do something else again’’.

The IB has refused to give details of its report and to substantiate it. The need for the agency to make such a public statement has been questioned. The staff of the remand home have a given a different picture of the boy. They have said that “he is a changed person now, and the home’s most disciplined inmate’’.

There is reason to believe that the campaign against his release is not based on correct information and may even be biased.

The law ordains that he be released at the end of the three-year period for which he was interned. This is based on the idea that a juvenile offender can reform and should be given a chance to start a new life.

That is why even the offender’s identity is not disclosed. This represents a humane, positive and hopeful view of life. The court should strictly follow the letter and spirit of the law on the matter, and reject all extraneous considerations.

It is true that he was involved in a heinous crime. The law is precisely meant for him and that is why his case becomes a test case.

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