India releases youngest gang rapist amid protests

Indian supreme court releases youngest gang rapist due to restrictions in New Delhi law

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Police detain demonstrators during a protest against the release of a juvenile rape convict, in New Delhi, India, December 20, 2015

The Indian Supreme Court rejected an appeal against the release of the youngest convict of a fatal gang-rape case on Monday which sparked anger across the country.

Indian judges said that "there is nothing in the law" to allow a petition by the Delhi Commission for Women, which wanted to reverse his release from a youth correctional facility.

A. K. Goel and U. U. Lalit presided over the hearing and the court said that due to the conditions of the law, he could not be detained any longer.

"We agree it is a serious issue. But after 20 December, the juvenile cannot be kept at a special home per law," the court said on Friday.

Asha Devi, victim Jyoti’s mother said after the court’s decision on Monday 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 said.

The women's commission chairwoman Swati Maliwal said to reporters that they asked for an interim order to prevent his release but she said that the court did not accept it.

"The entire system has failed the women of this country," she told to reporters.

Police detain demonstrators during a protest against the release of a juvenile rape convict, in New Delhi, India, December 20, 2015 / Photo by Reuters

The decision raised fury in 23-year-old rape victim Jyoti Singh’s family and was protested by people all around the country.

"What can I say? There are no words to describe our disappointment," her father Badrinath Singh told media.

"We don't understand all these laws. We only know that the system has failed us."

The 20-year-old rapist, who cannot be named due to legal reasons, was one of a six person group who abducted the young paramedical psychotherapy student, after watching a movie with his male friend during the evening.

The group of six lured Jyoti Singh onto an off-duty bus and then took it in turns to rape her and violate her with a metal rod. They then threw her on the road.

She died nearly a fortnight later in a Singapore hospital due to internal injuries she suffered because of the ordeal.

One of the rapists killed themselves in prison and the other four were given the death penalty for the attack. The death sentence has yet to be carried out.

The incident occurred on December 16, 2012 in Munirka, a neighbourhood in South Delhi where the young convict was sent to a juvenile correctional facility for a three-year term which is the maximum allowed under Indian law.

TRTWorld and agencies