Ahead of release of the juvenile convict in the Nirbhaya gangrape case next month, Union minister Maneka Gandhi today expressed helplessness in extending punishment to him and said while law was adhered to, she was not sure whether the justice was done in one of the most gruesome cases.
She advocated that a 'close watch' be kept on the accused after he is freed after completing sentence in the December 16 gangrape and murder case and said she will raise the issue with the authorities for doing so.
Reacting to the impending release of the accused, the minister said that 'justice should not be confused with law' and that he is being freed because law demands it as he was juvenile at the time of commission of crime.
"Let us not confuse justice with the law. The law said that he could only go to children home... That's the anomaly we are trying to correct. So he served his sentence and in according to the law he is coming out. And there is nothing we can do about it until or unless he commits another crime. So that is all we can do.
"I don't know whether the justice has been served but certainly the law has been adhered to," the minister said and added "Yes, I am afraid we are" when asked if the government was waiting for him to commit another crime.
"He is a person who should be kept under watch. We can't just let him go and wait for him to do something else," she said.
On whether she has taken up the monitoring issue with the authorities, Gandhi said, "I will do it."
On December 15, the juvenile found guilty in the 2012 Delhi gangrape, will be released. He has turned 21 and will complete his three-year term at the prohibition centre.
He was 17-and-a-half, the youngest of six men who raped and brutally tortured the 23-year-old medical student on a moving bus in the capital. The victim died 13 days later in a hospital in Singapore where she was taken for the treatment by the government.
Four other men found guilty in the case are on death row. One died in jail.