CJI on back foot, Says he was misrepresented on ‘Will you marry her’ query
The bench including Justice A. S Bopanna and Justice V. RamaSubramanium clarified that the reports in the words have been extracted out of context. He didn’t not ask the boy, after attaining adulthood, that he should go and marry her.
The Supreme Court has the “highest respect for women” and the comments attributed to him asking a rape accused if he would marry the victim was “completely misreported”, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde’s clarification the nation came on the Women’s Day, March 8.
The CJI had come under press and commoners’ criticism especially after an open letter written by Brinda Karat of CPI(M)’ and signed by group of journalists, politicians and activists addressed to the CJI asked him to come down as the statement undignifies the chair of a justice. While clarifying the CJI said that the activists were creating “unnecessary controversies” to tarnish the image of the court.
To recall the event, in a case between 2014 and 2015, a minor girl was raped by a minor boy. The CJI had asked the accused, “Will you marry her (when you become a major)… we are not forcing you to marry. (But) Let us know if you will.” The matter caught international attention soon.
The bench including Justice A. S Bopanna and Justice V. RamaSubramanium clarified that the reports in the words have been extracted out of context. He didn’t not ask the boy, after attaining adulthood, that he should go and marry her. And such queries are relevant in such cases in which the girl, repeated coerced into relationship with the accused as her complaint explains, had been promised her to marry. Which was also documented by a notarised statement by the boy, his mother and the girl’s mother. But he didn’t fulfil his promise after becoming an adult. Following which, the girl filed a complained and pushed him to the court.
In this case, therefore, the CJI clarifies that asking such a question from the accused becomes valid and therefore should not be understood without full context.
The CJI, however, when asked this question from the accused and he refused to marry her revealing he was already married, the bench refused to grant him anticipatory bail and asked him to go for a regular bail because his crime included seduction and exploitation of a minor girl, It also did not arrest the boy.
The CJI got support from the counsel which included Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, who claimed that the "statements, when twisted out of context, will mean something different…” and that under section 165 of the Evidence Act, court can ask a question within a question to discover facts.