India’s Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal against the release of the youngest convict in the infamous Delhi gang-rape in 2012, saying there were no legal grounds for his continued detention.
“The Supreme Court has dismissed our plea in the absence of any specific legislation. He cannot be detained any further,” said Swati Maliwal, the chairwoman of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) which filed the petition.
“We asked for an interim order restraining his release but the court did not entertain this,” she told reporters.
The Court told the DCW “we share your concern but we cannot go beyond the law”.
Earlier the government had said that it supported the petition made by Ms Maliwal who called for the juvenile convict to be held in prison until such time he is “reformed”.
However, Supreme Court Justice Goel said: “You are saying without the law backing you… go first and make the law. Suppose the reformation takes another seven or ten years?
Do we have to extend the period of his detention every now and then without any legislative sanction?”
The convict was 17 at the time of the Delhi attack when the 23-year-old physiotherapy student Jyoti Singh Pandey was lured onto a bus and gang raped by six men.
According to police, the teenager is said to have inserted a rusting metal rod into Ms Pandey’s vagina before pulling it along with part of her intestine.
Ms Pandey died two weeks later of her injuries.
The teenager had received the maximum punishment of three years from the Juvenile Justice Board.
Four of the adults were sentenced to death while the fifth hanged himself in prison.
The death sentences have not been carried out.