SC seeks views to improve gender sensitivity in judges towards victims of sexual offences

·2-min read
Supreme Court of India. [File image]
Supreme Court of India. [File image]

New Delhi [India], November 2 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Monday asked Attorney General KK Venugopal and others to recommend ways to improve gender sensitivity towards victims while laying down bail conditions for sex crime offenders.

A bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar was seeking views on a plea about courts imposing bail conditions for sex crime offenders which end up further harassing, objectifying their victims.

The bench asked Attorney General and other advocates in the case to file their written submissions before it on the issue while observing that discretion about conditions for such cases needs to be deliberated.

During the hearing, Venugopal told the court there is a need to educate judges on gender sensitisation. "On the face of it, it seems that the High Court Judge has been carried away. All of this is a drama which has to be condemned. The question is that how do we make this known to the judiciary," Venugopal said.

The bench then said that it will hear the case further on November 27.

Nine women lawyers had approached the top court against the backdrop of a Madhya Pradesh High Court order which directed a man accused of sexual assault to visit his victim at home on Rakshabandhan and "allow" her to tie a rakhi on him as a condition of bail.

Approaching the top court, the women lawyers, led by advocate Aparna Bhat, said the High Court order was a "trivialisation of victim's trauma".

The law prescribes the victim be kept far away from the accused, the plea said, adding that instead, here the High Court has ordered the accused to visit the home of the woman -- the very place where the crime is alleged to have occurred.

The order only succeeds to victimise the woman and retards the years of work done to sensitise the courts about how damaging it would be to attempt a compromise "by way of marriage or mediation between the accused and the survivor", the plea said.

It said the High Court further ordered the accused to gift the woman Rs 11,000 "as a customary ritual usually offered by brothers to sisters on such occasion and shall also seek her blessings." (ANI)