Supreme Court has highest respect for womanhood: CJI Bobde

Recent media reports quoting him as asking an alleged rapist to marry his victim was completely misquoted, CJI Bobde says

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde on Monday said the Supreme Court, as an institution, had the highest respect for womanhood and recent media reports quoting him as asking an alleged rapist to marry his victim was completely misquoted.

The CJI made the position clear on International Women’s Day while hearing a plea made by a 14-year-old rape victim seeking the termination of pregnancy.

On March 1, during a virtual hearing, several media outlets reported the CJI asking a rape accused’s lawyer to find out whether his client would be willing to marry the victim or risk the prospect of going to jail. The lawyer came back later in the day and said his client had declined as he was already married.

On Monday, the CJI said certain people were out to tarnish the image of the judiciary and a counter mechanism need to be set up.

The Bench said the reputation of the judiciary rested in the hands of the Bar.

‘Twisted out of context’

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the comments of the CJI on March 1 was indeed twisted out of context.

A flurry of outrage followed the reported comments of the CJI. According to the prosecution side, the accused had repeatedly raped the girl since she was in high school.

Monday saw the CJI clarify that his oral remarks, on March 1 again, during the hearing of another case concerning a man accused of falsely promising marriage to a woman was also misinterpreted.

The accused had approached the court saying he was framed. He said they were in a live-in relationship and she had accused him of rape when their relationship turned sour. Their sexual intercourse during the period was consensual. The court had stayed his arrest.

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