New Delhi: CPI (M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat has reacted sharply to the comments by the Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde in two recent rape cases, and asked him to withdraw the bail and his question 'Will you marry her?' to the accused.
The supreme court bench comprising by CJI Bobde and Justices Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian asked the rape accused whether he was willing to marry the victim, in which case the bench could consider that and otherwise he should go to jail.
Karat in her letter said "rape victims are not robots whose thoughts and feelings are under remote control of others".
The bench was hearing a petition by the accused for bail which the Aurangabad High Court had cancelled after the lower court granted it. Karat said that the bail granted by the lower court was 'atrocious'.
The court granted interim protection for four weeks to the rapist and asked him to apply for regular bail. In the course of the hearing, the bench reminded him that he was a government servant, he would lose his job, and if he agreed to marry the girl, the court could help him.
Criticisms have already been floating in the public domain including social media about the propriety of the CJI in offering such leniency to the accused without legal provisions for such a decision.
At the time of the rape, the victim was a minor of 16 years. In her letter, Karat said, "The girl was gagged and raped by this criminal, when she was just sixteen years old. He repeated his crime 10-12 times. The girl tried to commit suicide. Does this show consent?
"In any case, in the case of a minor, as this girl was, the law is clear that there is no issue of consent." She also asked the CJI to consider the effect such questions will have on the psyche of victims.
"There is a prevailing retrograde social approach that the victim of rape is a "bad" woman and if the rapist marries her, she gains respectability in the eyes of society. Comments of the apex court should not give the impression of supporting such approaches," Karat wrote.
Karat requested the chief justice, "Please reconsider and withdraw these comments and questions… Please uphold the judgment of the Aurangabad High Court which rules that bail granted to him by the lower court was 'atrocious'."