A recent judgement by the Karnataka High Court has sparked massive controversy, especially amongst the feminists.
The High Court has noted that it was “unbecoming of an Indian woman” to sleep after she is “ravished”, while granting a pre-arrest bail to a man accused of rape, cheating and criminal intimidation.
In an open letter to the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Supreme Court judges, Justices R Banumathi, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee, Advocate Aparna Bhat has urged the Court to issue an advisory to all High Courts and subordinate courts to refrain from commenting on the conduct of ‘victims’ of sexual violence.
Bhat has now urged the top Court to intervene and issue an advisory to the effect of discouraging such comments about victims of sexual violence by High Courts and lower courts. She wrote,
Intervene and issue 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.
However, its not just Bhat but many others who have failed to understand the entire order in its right context.
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During the course of hearing, the court expressed its reservations about the genuineness of the prosecutrix’s case, while conjecturing as to the reasons behind:
- Not raising alarm when the Petitioner got into her car
- Voluntarily having alcohol with the Petitioner
- Waiting to lodge a complaint until the next morning
The judge added,
The version of the complainant that she was subjected to rape on the false promise of marriage in the given circumstances of the case is bit difficult to believe at this stage.
Hailing this balanced observation by the high court judge, Roopenshu Singh – Supreme Court Lawyer has now sent an appreciation letter to Justice Shri Krishna Dixit, who is at the helm of this controversy. The letter states,
I sincerely appreciate your stand taken in the matter of “Sri Rakesh B. Vs State of Karnataka” Criminal Petition No.2427 Of 2020. Supreme Court of India has said that the rule of law is a basic feature of the Constitution which permeates the whole of the constitutional fabric and is an integral part of the constitutional structure. The independence of the judiciary is an essential attribute of the rule of law. It is sometimes said that planning and welfare schemes essentially strike at rule of law because they affect the individual freedoms and liberty in many ways. But rule of law always plays an effective role by emphasising upon fair play and greater accountability of the administration.
It lays greater emphasis upon the, principles of natural justice and the rule of speaking order in administrative process in order to eliminate administrative arbitrariness. The doctrine of rule of law has been provided in Article 14 of the Constitution of India. In the case of ‘E.P. Royappa v. State of Tamil Nadu’, in para 17, the Supreme Court propounded a new dimension to Article 14 of the Constitution as under:
“Equality is a dynamic concept with many aspects and dimensions and it cannot be “cribbed cabined and confined” within doctrinal traditional limits. From a positive point of view, equality is antithetic to arbitrariness. In fact equality and arbitrariness are sworn enemies; one belongs to the rule of law in a republic while the other, to the whim and caprice of an absolute monarch.
When an act is arbitrary it is implicit in it that it is unequal both according to political logic and constitutional law and is therefore violative of Art.14 and if it affects any matter relating to public employment, it is also violative of Art. 14 and 16 strike at arbitrariness in state action and ensure fairness and equality of treatment.”
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In fact, the social and economic progress gained by democratic countries is directly the result of their vigilant protection and enforcement of the rule of law. The right to equality before the law, often phrased as “equal protection of the law‟, is fundamental to any just and democratic society. In the eyes of rule of law, rich or poor, majority or minority, etc all are entitled to equal protection before the law. In the absence of rule of law, the power-holders become corrupt and tyrannical.
In a democracy, those who administer the criminal justice system use their power and the potential in wrong sense. The State power is exercised to imprison, seize property, torture, exile and execute individuals without legal justification and even without any formal charges being brought. No State can exist without having the power to maintain order and punish criminal acts.
Sir, I would like to draw your kind attention to the present legal framework, where one particular gender has been harassed legally, just because of his gender and they don’t have any protection law till-date, however in our nation- statues, plants, and animals have protection laws.
‘Men’ don’t have any platform where they can take any legal help or resolve their grievances. In today’s era, ‘Men’ has been thrashed by national media, they also conduct media trials, and pictured the accused person in such a manner that it appears he is ‘guilty’. There could be thousands of reasons behind the cases filed by the petitioner. Such trauma given to men from every dimension of society leaves harsh marks on his soul and maximum times it resulted in depression and many of them committed suicide.
According to NCRB, 90,000+ men committed suicide every year because of various reasons, which is a very huge number in itself. Such judgments are a silver lining in the modern era for men, where society can even rethink that men can be vulnerable too. The modern feminism has changed its narrative from ‘empowering of women’ to ‘misandry’. I wish soon, we could develop a society where everyone will be treated equally in an equal sense. Once again I would like to congratulate you and sincerely appreciate your gesture and stand taken in the case mentioned in the beginning.
People who have been questioning the judge, have already declared the woman as victim and the accused as convict. It is the duty of every judge to rely on facts and not favour any gender (read: woman). There have been endless judgements where judges have questioned men in every possible manner, because they are trying to evaluate evidence presented by each side. However, when the same is done against a woman, it has somehow rattled our gender biased media.
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