SC: Mediation in rape cases against woman’s dignity

RSTV Bureau

supreme_courtThe Supreme Court on Wednesday criticised any form of mediation in rape cases. The court said any mediation promising wedlock between the accused and victim is against the “dignity of a woman.”

“There should be no mediation and no compromise in rape cases, a woman’s body is her temple,” the SC said in its judgment.

The apex court also criticised a recent judgement given by Madras High Court that allowed the rapist to “settle the matter by mediation” with the rapist. The rape accused was found guilty of raping a minor in 2002 and was sentenced to seven years in jail.

Last week, Justice P Devadass of the Madras High Court held that alternative dispute resolution such as mediation was effective for a “happy resolution” in a rape case.

The Supreme Court’s order came while accepting the Madhya Pradesh government’s plea challenging a lower court’s acquittal of a man accused of rape.

While referring to the Madhya Pradesh rape case where a man was convicted of raping a 7-year-old, the apex court 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 court also observed, “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 remain 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. We are compelled to say so as such an attitude reflects lack of sensibility towards the dignity, the elan vital, of a woman. Any kind of liberal approach or thought of mediation in this regard is thoroughly and completely sans legal permissibility.”

(With inputs from agencies)