- CJI Bobde clarifies how his rape case statement was misreported
- The Chief Justice of India said he has the “highest respect for women”
- There have been demands for the Chief Justice’s resignation over his remarks in a rape case
The Chief Justice of India, Sharad Arvind Bobde, on Monday, said that the comments he made during the hearing of a rape case, last week, were completely misreported to imply he meant disrespect to the womanhood.
CJI Bobde said that the Supreme Court of India had always accorded the “highest respect to womanhood” and the judiciary’s reputation was in the hands of its lawyers, the “Bar”.
Today, CJI Bobde said, “We did not ask him (rape accused) to marry. We asked ‘are you going to marry?’ We did not say ‘marry’,”.
On the 1st of March, the Supreme Court, while hearing the bail request of Mohit Subhash Chavan, a technician with the Maharashtra State Electric Production Company, accused of raping a schoolgirl.
He is facing charges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences law.
“If you want to marry, we can help you. If not, you lose your job and go to jail. You seduced the girl, raped her. We are not forcing you. Later you may say court forced you,” the Chief Justice of India told the petitioner’s lawyer.
The remarks from the SC did not take time to find themselves at the receiving end of a serious backlash from various quarters as it was construed as the top court considering marriage as some panacea for rape.
A lot many women’s rights activists, eminent citizens, intellectuals, writers, and many artists wrote to the Chief Justice of India, demanding an apology along with a retraction of his remarks during the hearing.
More than 5,000 people signed a petition demanding that he even quit.
Later, a court official termed the criticism as unfair, as per a report from PTI, saying that comments were based on “judicial records” which contains an undertaking of the accused which might require him to marry the minor girl, a relative, once she turned 18.
Today, CJI Bobde said, “there was complete misreporting” on the matter.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, too, said the court had asked the question in a different context.
Chief Justice said, “We did not have any marital rape cases before us. I asked my brothers (judges sitting on the bench). They, too, do not remember. This institution, particularly this bench, we have the highest respect for womanhood.”
Today’s comments, coming on International Women’s Day, were made during the hearing of a plea by a minor girl where she sought permission to abort a 26-week pregnancy.