July, 7,2015: “Any compromise promising wedlock between a rape accused and the survivor compromises the dignity of the woman”.
Holding that the “dignity of a woman is a part of her non-perishable and immortal self”, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that courts should not fall for the subterfuge of a rapist to corner the traumatised victim into a compromise, or even worse, enter into wedlock with him.
The judgment delivered by a Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and P.C. Pant serves as a slap on the recent order by a Madras High Court judge, asking a young woman, who was raped at the age of 15, to mediate with her rapist for the sake of the child borne out of the crime.
“In a case of rape or attempt of rape, the conception of compromise under no circumstances can really be thought of. These are offences which suffocate the breath of life and sully the reputation. There cannot be a compromise or settlement as it would be against her honour which matters the most. It is sacrosanct,” the Supreme Court held on Wednesday.
The apex court said that even an offer of wedlock by the rapist is “nothing but putting pressure in an adroit manner”.
The judgment emphasised that courts should not fall into this trap and adopt a soft approach to a rape case. It said any such kind of liberal approach in a case of rape is nothing short of a “spectacular error” and reflects a lack of sensibility towards the dignity of a woman.
“Any kind of liberal approach or thought of mediation in this regard is thoroughly and completely sans legal permissibility,” the apex court held.
This verdict is based on a case of sexual assault and rape of a seven-year-old in Madhya Pradesh in 2008.
The Sessions Court convicted the accused, Madan Lal, for the rape of the minor.
On appeal, however, a Single Judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court changed the offence from rape to assault on a woman with the intention to outrage her modesty and reduced the jail term to a year.
The Single Judge's decision was also influenced on learning that the parents of the minor victim had entered into a compromise with the accused.
Upholding the State government's appeal, the Supreme Court flayed the Single Judge's attitude, quoting from the recent judgment in K. Anbazhagan's case that “the duty of the Judge to see that justice is appropriately administered, for that is the paramount consideration of a Judge”.
Rejecting any room for compromise, Justice Misra, who wrote the judgment, said that rape is a non-compoundable offence against the society and the parents of the minor victim had no right to settle with the person who violated their child.
The apex court ordered the Madhya Pradesh High Court to consider the evidence in the case afresh and directed the accused to be taken back into custody.
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