Published: 08th March 2021
CJI SA Bobde: Never suggested accused to marry rape victim, have the highest regard for women
Chief Justice of India SA Bobde stressed that the court proceedings in the matter was completely misreported
A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde on Monday said news reports and quotes by activists have taken "out of context" a query posed by the apex court to a rape accused "on marrying the victim", while emphasising that it always holds women with highest regard and respect.
The bench also comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said the court had asked the man, in the context of the case, whether he will marry the complainant, the victim, and had not asked him to "go and marry her".
The Chief Justice stressed that the court proceedings in the matter was completely misreported. The bench made comments during the hearing of a plea filed by a 14-year-old rape victim, who has moved the top court through advocate V.K. Biju, and sought permission to terminate her 26-week pregnancy.
Last week, during the bail hearing of the 23-year-old man accused of raping the minor, the bench had asked the accused, "Will you marry her?"
An FIR was lodged by the girl against the accused after he backtracked on his promises to marry her. On February 5, the Bombay High Court allowed the girl's application cancelling anticipatory bail granted to the petitioner.
Challenging the high court order, the petitioner moved the top court.
On Monday, Biju submitted that he was completely against the reports which tarnished the image of the court. The bench said the court gives highest respect to women and even in the hearing never suggested to the accused to marry the victim.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that according to the section 165 of Evidence Act the court is mandated to ask any question to discover facts or for any purpose.
Mehta said the court's statements were twisted out of context and a section of society wrongly started targeting the court and the judges.
The Chief Justice said: "We have the highest regard for women". He added, "Our reputation is in hands of the Bar."
The top court will continue to hear the plea on termination of pregnancy on Friday.