New Delhi; Dec.19: The youngest of six men convicted of raping and torturing a medical student on a moving bus in Delhi in 2012, is set to be released on Sunday from a correctional home, after the high court said it could not extend his three-year stay in a reform home.
"We agree it is a serious issue. But after December 20, a juvenile cannot be kept in the special home per law," the court said today, rejecting a petition by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.
The rapist, now 21, is likely to be monitored by the Juvenile Justice Board, which will decide on his rehabilitation, "social mainstreaming", and even whether he should be returned to his family.
Legal options to stop his release are open till Sunday and both the Delhi government and the state Women's Commission are considering them.
The convict was just a few months short of 18 when he and five others attacked 23-year-old Jyoti Singh and her male friend on the night of December 16, 2012, an incident that shook India to the core and led to protests in the country as well as abroad. Four of the rapists have been sentenced to death and a fifth was found dead in prison.
The youngest convict's punishment was seen as disproportionate to the enormity of his crime and led to a debate about whether India was too soft on teen offenders involved in serious crimes like rape and murder.
For three years, Jyoti's parents Asha Devi and Badrinath had fought to stop the release of the juvenile. "The court abandoned us. We did not get justice. Despite all our efforts, the criminal will get away with what he did," her mother Asha Devi said, looking shattered.
"I don't see the point in moving the Supreme Court," said Badrinath.
A bill that proposed to punish criminals between 16 and 18 as adults in serious crimes has not been taken up in Parliament, where the Rajya Sabha has barely run in this winter session.