Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 2
Attorney General KK Venugopal on Monday told the Supreme Court that there was a need to educate judges on gender sensitisation to ensure that they don’t trivialise sexual violence against women.
“On the face of it, the (MP) high court judge seems to have got carried away as this order was nothing less than a drama that must be condemned,” Venugopal told a Bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar.
“Courts must restrict themselves to conditions under Sections 437 and 438 of the CrPC,” the Attorney General told the Bench during a hearing on a PIL filed by nine women lawyers against a Madhya Pradesh High Court order granting bail to molestation accused on the condition that he would request the victim to tie him a ‘Rakhi’.
The petitioners wanted the top court to restrain courts across India from imposing such bail conditions against the principle of law.
“So far as gender sensitisation is concerned, gender sensitization and grievance redressal committee are there in Supreme Court and lectures need to be given to subordinate and high court judges about gender sensitisation.
“The suggestion is that the examinations for judges and National Judicial Academy and State Judicial Academies must have programmes on gender sensitization…This is an opportunity for this Court to impart gender sensitisation,” Venugopal submitted.
The MP high court had on July 30 granted bail to molestation accused and imposed a condition that he, along with his wife, shall visit the house of the complainant and request her to tie a ‘Rakhi’ to him with the promise to protect her to the best of his ability for all times to come.
Alleging that such an order amounted to the trivialisation of sexual offences by courts, the petitioners said the bail condition further victimized the complainant and trivialised the trauma that she suffered.
Advocate Aparna Bhat pointed out that similar orders were passed by high courts across India, the Bench asked the Attorney General, senior advocates Dushyant Dave and Sanjay Parikh and other parties to recommend ways to improve gender sensitivity towards victims while imposing bail conditions for sexual offenders.
The top court posted the matter for further hearing on November 27 when it will consider laying down guidelines for judges in this regard.
Seeking the Attorney General’s assistance in the matter, the Supreme Court had on October 16 had formally issued notice to his office on the PIL that wanted the top court to restrain courts across India from imposing such bail conditions against the principle of law.
“The trauma of the victim is trivialised by such conditions. These kind of conditions are imposed which are against the principle of law. Repeatedly such observations are being made,” Parikh had submitted on behalf of the petitioner woman lawyers.