New Delhi: DCW chief Swati Maliwal on Monday termed it a "black day" for women after the Supreme Court dismissed her last-minute plea against the release of juvenile convict in December 16 gang-rape case and said the country has been "cheated" as a proposed law which could have allowed stronger punishment to him remains pending in Rajya Sabha.
"It is a black day for women in history of the country. I also believe that the Rajya Sabha has cheated the country by keeping the law pending which could have facilitated stronger punishment for juveniles in heinous crimes," the chief of Delhi Commission for Women told reporters outside the Supreme Court.
She was referring to the bill to amend the Juvenile Justice Act which remains stuck in the Rajya Sabha. The proposed amendment bill seeks stringent punishment for children aged 16-18 years involved in heinous crimes.
"The judges told me that they share our concerns but there is no provision to subvert the existing law. I think the time for candle marches is over and women should pick up mashaals (torches) instead to demand for justice," Maliwal added.
Hours before the juvenile was to be freed from an observation home on completion of his three year term at Majnu Ka Tila, Maliwal had moved the Supreme Court on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday in a last-ditch effort to try and stall the release.
In its post midnight order, the Supreme Court had declined to stop the release of the juvenile offender and posted the matter before a vacation bench to be heard today.
Amid continued protest by the victim's parents, the juvenile convict was yesterday released and sent to an NGO at an undisclosed destination with police no longer guarding him.
The Supreme Court today dismissed Maliwal's plea saying "there has to be a clear legislative sanction" in this regard.
The vacation bench comprising justices AK Goel and UU Lalit's bench also did not agree with the submission that the juvenile offender can be subjected to the reformation process for a further period of two years under the juvenile law.