New Delhi: Chief Justice of India, Sharad A Bobde, on Monday said he was misreported and he did not commented anything to suggest that the rapist should marry the victim. The comments he made during a hearing of a rape case last week were completely misreported to imply disrespect for women which against his nature, explained the CJI. He said he always accorded the “highest respect to womanhood.” The CJI made these comments while he was hearing a plea by a minor girl to allow her to abort a 26-week pregnancy.
There was a hue and cry criticizing the CJI for the reported comments he made and asking the perpetrator of a heinous crime, of repeatedly raping a minor girl, if he was willing to marry the victim. Thousands of writer, women activists, intellectuals and artists wrote to the CJI demanding his resignation. Over five thousand people had signed a petition asking for his unconditional apology and resignation. It was said that the victims was related to the accused who promised to marry her after she attained the age of 18 years. It was on the record and that was why the CJI referred to that, according to a court official. Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General, also said the CJI made that comment in a different context.
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Justice Bobde clarified, “We asked the accused ‘are you going to marry? We did not ask him to marry. We did not say marry.” It happened on March 1 when the apex court was hearing a petition for a bail by Mohit Subhas Chavan, a technician with the Maharashtra government, accused of raping a minor girl. He was charged under the law of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences. It was reported that the CJI said the accused had seduced the school going girl and repeatedly raped her. He reportedly offered, “If you want to marry, we can help you. If not, you lose your job and go to jail. You seduced the girl, raped her. We are not forcing you. Later you may say court forced you.”
“This institution, particularly this bench, has the highest respect for womanhood,” Justice Bobde reaffirmed.