Supreme Court dismisses plea in Delhi gang-rape case

Supreme Court dismisses plea in Delhi gang-rape case
An Indian protester holds a placard during a demonstration against the release of a juvenile rapist in New Delhi.

New Delhi - Delhi women's commission chief says it is a black day for women in India.

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By Agencies

Published: Mon 21 Dec 2015, 6:06 PM

Last updated: Mon 21 Dec 2015, 9:20 PM

The chief of Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), Swati Maliwal, on Monday termed it a "black day" for women after the Supreme Court dismissed her last-minute plea against the release of the juvenile convict in the December 16 gang-rape case and said the country has been "cheated" as a proposed law which could have allowed stronger punishment to him remains pending in Rajya Sabha.
"It is a black day for women in history of the country. I also believe that the Rajya Sabha has cheated the country by keeping the law pending which could have facilitated stronger punishment for juveniles in heinous crimes," Maliwal told reporters outside the Supreme Court. "The entire system has failed the women of this country," she said.
She was referring to the bill to amend the Juvenile Justice Act which remains stuck in the Rajya Sabha. The proposed amendment bill seeks stringent punishment for children aged 16-18 years involved in heinous crimes.

"The judges told me that they share our concerns but there is no provision to subvert the existing law. I think the time for candle marches is over and women should pick up mashaals (torches) instead to demand for justice," Maliwal added.
The ruling was greeted with despair by the parents of the victim, 23-year-old Jyoti Singh who has become the symbol of the plight of women in a country with frightening levels of sexual violence.
"What can I say? There are no words to describe our disappointment," her father Badrinath Singh said. "We don't understand all these laws. We only know that the system has failed us."
Jyoti's mother, Asha Devi, said Monday's ruling showed that India had "not learned any lessons from this case".

"They have basically handed young criminals a licence that says before the age of 18 you can rape girls, do whatever you want, because our laws do not have any provisions to punish you," she told reporters.
"They only care about men ... Women are only betrayed, like they always have been."
Asha Devi said her fight against the system would continue.
"We were not very hopeful that the Supreme Court will give a favourable verdict but I want to ask how many Nirbhayas are needed for the laws to change in the country," the victim's father Badri Singh Pandey told reporters.
"The court is not bothered about the concerns of the public.... This fight is not just about Nirbhaya but for every girl who is unsafe in a country which has such laws," he added.
The victim's mother said she would fight till the law is changed.
"I will not be defeated, the SC decision can't stop me, I have to fight a long battle, I will fight till the bill is passed and law is changed.
"The court is saying that the law does not permit further punishment for the juvenile but why is the case against other convicts still pending. Why have they not been hanged yet?," she said.
Both parents were briefly detained on Sunday after police broke up a protest against the release on security grounds but they are due to attend a fresh demonstration on Monday afternoon near parliament.
The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea opposing the release of a juvenile convict, saying he cannot be kept in a juvenile home beyond three years as provided under the law.
"We share your concern," an apex court's vacation bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit said, dismissing the Delhi Commission for Women's plea and observing that "everything has to be in accordance with law, we have to enforce law".
"We need to have a clear legislative sanction," the court said, making it clear that given the law as it stood today, it (DCW) could not ask for further detention of the convict, who is now aged 20.
The court's remarks came as senior counsel Guru Krishna Kumar, appearing for DCW, said "provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, has to be so constructed that it is beneficial for society".
Pointing out that the law he was referring to says that the juvenile convict's detention cannot be more than three years, the court asked him which provision of the Act says it could be extended beyond three years.
"It (Juvenile Justice Act) says in no case it can go beyond three years. Which part of the law provides (detention) for more (than the stipulated period)," the court asked as Guru Krishna Kumar questioned the Delhi High Court order and said: "Can the high court say the outer limit is three years and (it) could not be extended?"
The DCW counsel then said the convict was far from reformed and there was an Intelligence Bureau report that he has been radicalized.

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