The Delhi High Court in its order dated September 4, 2023 has pulled up the Trial Court for discharging accused women on the basis of their gender.
Justice Swarna Kanta Sharma emphasised that there is no place for gender bias within the justice system unless such presumptions are specifically provided for by law and that presumptions based on gender, otherwise, would undermine the pursuit of truth and justice.
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The Delhi High Court was hearing a matter related to assault, kidnapping and attempt to murder of a person.
The trial court had framed charges against five men in the said matter and discharged five accused women in the same case on the ground that there was no evidence to prove they had instigated the male accused. The trial court had asked all lady accused persons to furnish bail bonds under Section 437A of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
The State challenged this order before the High Court.
Delhi High Court
Justice Swarna Kanta Sharma heard the matter and criticised the trial court order in which it was stated that “female members” could not have participated in the offences alleged in a case involving accusations of assault, kidnapping and an attempt to murder a person. Justice Sharma said,
The trial court in the present case has given no reasons as to what led it to believe at this stage, to assume on its own, that the ‘female members’ could not have participated in the commission of offence despite there being specific allegations levelled and specific roles attributed to them by the victim himself as recorded in the FIR and statement of the independent witnesses.
The High Court also remarked on the assumption to favour a female accused without any substantive basis or valid grounds and termed this against the core principles of the justice system. Justice Sharma said that the legal system is predicated on the objective assessment of facts rather than preconceived notions. She added,
Our legal system is founded on the principle of gender neutrality, unless otherwise provided, where each individual, regardless of their gender, is held accountable for their actions in accordance with the law.
Presumptions based on gender have no place within this framework, unless provided by law, as they undermine the pursuit of truth and justice.
The Court noted that the presumption in favour of the female accused was made by the trial court at the stage of framing of charge, when its primary duty was only to see whether a prima facie a case was made out or not.
With regards to accused women being asked to furnish bail bonds, the Delhi High Court said:
This Court is again constrained to observe that writing so in a judicial order does not reflect well on the judicial philosophy of treating all genders equally.
It was a judicial order and the names of the persons discharged who were directed to furnish bail bonds should have been mentioned instead of mentioning and pointing them by their gender.
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While setting aside the trial court order, the Delhi High Court remanded the case back to the same court.
The judgement copy will also be circulated among all the Judicial Officers and Director (Academics) and the Delhi Judicial Academy for taking note of its contents.
Voice For Men India Take: This is how our judicial system must function to remain relevant and effective irrespective of the accused person’s gender. Sadly, while this stand has been taken in a criminal matter, many judges do not take stringent action against accused women in civil, largely matrimonial cases.
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READ JUDGMENT | Trial Court Can't Presume Women Couldn't Have Done Crime On Basis Of Gender: Delhi HC— Voice For Men India (@voiceformenind) September 6, 2023
▪️"Our legal system is founded on principle of gender neutrality, where each individual, regardless of gender, is held accountable for their actions"https://t.co/XHBkoXhB4S
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