The Supreme Court Lawyer has written a letter to the CJI seeking advisory to all Courts to refrain from commenting on the conduct of the rape victims pursuant to the derogatory remarks made by the Judge of the Karnataka High Court.
Advocate Aparna Bhat has written an open letter addressed to the Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice R. Banumathi, Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Indira Banerjee seeking an advisory to all the High Courts and the subordinate courts in the Country to “refrain from commenting on the conduct of the victims, exercise restraint to ensure that their judgements do not reflect stereotypical notions that one may nurse about women, shun misogyny and strive towards enhancing the dignity of women while preserving the sanctity of the judiciary.”
The letter was written pursuant to the comments made by Justice Krishna S. Dixit, Judge, Karnataka High Court while granting anticipatory bail to a rape accused.
Bhat has stated that she was under “extreme duress and shock” at the manner in which a high court judge has “trivialized a heinous crime” while granting anticipatory bail to the accused in the rape case. She further said that she was compelled to write the letter as the language used and the justification drawn for rejecting the plea of the state is outrageous.
A paragraph from the order says “nothing is mentioned by the complainant as to why she went to her office at night i.e. 11.00PM; she has also not objected to consuming drinks with the Petitioner and allowing him to stay with her till morning: the explanation offered by the complainant that after the perpetration of the act she was tired and fell asleep, is unbecoming of an Indian woman; that is not the way our women react when they are ravished.”
Quoting the paragraph Bhat says “Is there a protocol for rape victims to follow post the incident which is written in the law that I am not aware of? Are “Indian women” an exclusive class who have unmatched standards post being violated? Who are “our women”?”
Bhat has further clarified that she was not commenting on the merits of the case or the order passed by the learned Judge, however “these observations reflect misogyny at its worst and since it is from a judge of a Constitutional court, not condemning it will amount to condoning.”
Bhat has further stated that she is well aware that she is breaking protocol by writing the letter but she is hopeful that the Judges would appreciate the situation which warranted this unorthodox approach.
-India Legal Bureau