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No mediation in rape cases: Supreme Court

Posted in Featured, S. Asia


Published on July 03, 2015 with No Comments

“Sometimes solace is given that the perpetrator of the crime has acceded to enter into wedlock with her which is nothing but putting pressure in an adroit manner; and we say with emphasis that the courts are to main absolutely away from this subterfuge to adopt a soft approach to the case, for any kind of liberal approach has to be put in the compartment of spectacular error. Or to put it differently, it would be in the realm of a sanctuary of error,” said Justice Misra.

Rapists can no longer hope of getting away by mediating with the victim or offering to marry her and trial courts and high courts cannot pass any order facilitating any such reconciliation.In a landmark ruling within days of Madras High Court’s controversial bail to a rape accused to ‘mediate’ with the survivor, the Supreme Court of India took a tough stand slamming the recent trend of subordinate and high courts encouraging settlement in rape cases saying any such attempt for mediation is “against the dignity of women”.
The SC warned that any attempt by a court to initiate reconciliation between a rape accused and a victim is illegal.

“We are compelled to say so as such an attitude reflects lack of sensibility towards the dignity of a woman. Any kind of liberal approach or thought of mediation in this regard is thoroughly and completely sans legal permissibility,” a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said.
“These are crimes against the body of a woman which is her own temple. These are offences which suffocate the breath of life and sully the reputation. And reputation, needless to emphasise, is the richest jewel one can conceive of in life. No one would allow it to be extinguished. When a human frame is defiled, the purest treasure is lost. Dignity of a woman is a part of her non-perishable and immortal self and no one should ever think of painting it in clay. There cannot be a compromise or settlement as it would be against her honour which matters the most. It is sacrosanct,” the bench added.
The apex court’s observation came on an appeal filed by the State of Madhya Pradesh, against a rape accused. The HC in the matter had set aside the punishment provided by the trial court and restricted the sentence to the period already undergone by the accused. Earlier, the trial court had sentenced the person to five years of rigorous imprisonment.
Justice P Devadass of the Madras HC had referred a case of the rape convict to its mediation centre to settle the matter taking note of the future of the victim, a ruling that had sparked controversy with women’s organisations up in arms.
The victim, who was a minor when the incident took place, however, said that she did not want to mediate with the culprit or marry him. Following the Madras HC decision, a group of lawyers had approached the Chief Justice to urge the court to recall the order.


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