Friday, 3 July 2015

Mediation in Rape Cases

Why in news?

  • A recent judgment from the Madras High Court that had allowed a convicted rapist to be freed on bail to work towards a mediated solution with the survivor had shocked civil society and attracted severe criticism
  • Days after the Madras High Court favoured mediation in a rape case, the Supreme Court on Wednesday held that it would be a “spectacular error” to adopt “any kind of liberal approach” in sexual assault cases.


What is the judgement?



Source: The Hindu

Analysis:

  • Offers of marriage or forms of financial compromise cannot be applied in a rape case.
  • A timely and essential judgement
  • It was only in 2013 that it categorically ruled that there can be no compromise in a rape case.
  • Also, when it comes to sentencing policy, it should be remembered that as part of the amendments to criminal law made in 2013, a proviso in Section 376 of IPC (punishment for rape) that allowed judges to award lesser prison terms than what are set down, on ‘special grounds’, has been omitted. 
    • Judges are not allowed to consider offers of marriage, the passage of time, or the state of a woman being “happily married” as factors justifying a soft approach towards perpetrators of rape. 
  • That despite the Supreme Court’s repeated directions not all lower courts see the irreparable harm done to rape survivors by subjecting them to mediated solutions is disquieting. It is also an indication of how deeply patriarchy is embedded in our judicial system.

[Sources: The Hindu, Indian Express]

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