New Delhi, Aug 31 IANS | 2 years ago

The decision of the Juvenile Justice Board to send the minor accused in the Dec 16, 2012 gang rape here to a special home for three years was Saturday welcomed by lawyers and activists, saying it will give him a chance to reform.

"This is not the first time that a juvenile has committed such a crime. The people are demanding the gallows for him, but I appreciate the decision given by the board as the juvenile should be given a chance to turn into a good human being," said Kavita Srivastava, general secretary of People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).

The boy, who was 17-and-half years old at the time of the incident, has now turned 18.

Meenakshi Ganguly, south Asia director, Human Rights Watch (HRW), said: "There should be every effort at the rehabilitation and the eventual reintegration of the child as a constructive member of society."

Echoing Ganguly's views, Shireen Vakil Miller, advocacy director, Save the Children, said: "The most important step is to ensure that there is a comprehensive rehabilitation package for the juvenile that includes counselling and vocational training."

Lawyer Rebecca John said: "The verdict is not at all a matter of debate, the course of law has been followed. As the law is supreme the punishment has to be upheld."

The board, presided over by Principal Magistrate Geetanjali Goel, pronounced the verdict and acquitted him of some of the charges.

The gang rape occurred in Munirka in south Delhi when a 23-year-old woman physiotherapy intern was brutally gang raped in a bus that she and her male companion had boarded.

Police in their charge sheet said the juvenile was the most brutal of all the accused.

A native of Uttar Pradesh, the minor had moved to Delhi at the age of 11 and was arrested after the incident from Anand Vihar in east Delhi.

Six people, including the juvenile, were arrested in the case. While accused Ram Singh, Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur faced trial in fast track court in Saket in south Delhi, the juvenile's case was heard by the board.

The case against Ram Singh was dropped after he was found dead, hanging in his cell in Tihar Jail.

(Posted on 31-08-2013)