Top court to hear plea against release of Delhi gang-rape attacker

An effigy symbolising the juvenile rapist is seen during a protest to mark third anniversary of the Delhi gang rape. PHOTO: EPA

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India's top court will hear a plea against the release of an attacker in the 2012 deadly gang-rape of a student which provoked international outrage, after a women's rights body filed a petition past midnight Saturday.

Swati Maliwal, the head of Delhi Commission of Women, submitted the petition to the Supreme Court at 0100 hours (3:30am Sunday Singapore time), seeking a stay just hours before the convict was to walk free after serving the maximum three years' sentence for juvenile offenders.

The court would take up the plea on Monday, pending which Maliwal hoped the offender would not be released.

"SC (Supreme Court) accepted our petition. Matter listed on Monday as item no 3. Case sub-judice now," Maliwal tweeted.

"(The) rapist should not be released until case heard."

The attacker, then aged 17, was the youngest of a group of men who brutally assaulted a 23-year-old student on a bus in 2012, triggering global outrage and protests in India over the country's high levels of violence against women.

He was sent to a correction home for three years under India's juvenile laws while four others were convicted and handed the death penalty in 2014. The appeals of the convicts against the hanging is pending in the Supreme Court.

The student, who succumbed to her injuries two weeks after the attack, was publicly named by her mother on the third anniversary of her death last week, in an effort to end the stigma facing sex attack victims in India.

Under Indian laws, the identity of rape victims is not revealed even after death although victims and their families can waive their right to anonymity.

The parents and women's rights groups have been opposing the release of the youngest attacker, mainly on the grounds that it was unclear if he had been rehabilitated and was ready to be reintegrated into society.

On Saturday, the parents and scores of students holding placards and banners demonstrated outside the juvenile detention centre in Delhi where the offender was held.

The Indian government introduced tougher penalties for rapists and other measures after the Dec 16, 2012 gang rape.

But India has repeatedly hit the headlines for a series of brutal attacks including those against children and foreign women.

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