December,20,2015: All eyes will be on the Supreme Court on Monday as it takes a decision on the midnight appeal filed by Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal, challenging the release of the juvenile convict in the Nirbhaya case.
Hours before the juvenile’s release from an observation home on completion of his three-year term at Majnu Ka Tila, Maliwal moved the Supreme Court at 1.15am on Saturday in a last-ditch effort to stall the release.
“The petition has been accepted. The registrar has said the chief justice has assured that it will be heard by a vacation bench of the court. A bench of Justice AK Goel will hear the petition on Monday. The case has been listed as item number 3,” Maliwal told reporters.
The fact that the high security court complex was opened for Maliwal to file the petition itself was a positive sign that the court is willing to give her a patient hearing.
The last time the apex court had opened at midnight was on July 30 to hear Mumbai blast death row convict Yakub Memon’s last minute mercy plea.
Questioning the high court’s refusal to stay the release, Maliwal said in the petition that while the government and courts are bound by the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, it is necessary to assess the mental condition of the youth in the larger public interest before his release as he is viewed as a threat to society.
“In light of the particularly heinous nature of the crime executed by this boy, the DCW requests your hon’ble self to kindly intervene in the matter and ensure that the boy be kept in the observation home at least until his mental frame of mind and reformation is properly ascertained,” the DCW chief said in the petition.
The petition said the juvenile, who still showed no remorse, could not be let free till an independent body has ascertained his mental state.