The Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde on Monday, 1 March, asked a government employee if he would marry the woman who has accused him of repeatedly raping her.
The Supreme Court was hearing the bail request of Mohit Subhash Chavan, a technician with the Maharashtra State Electric Production Company, reported NDTV. He was accused of raping a schoolgirl and faces charges under the severe POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act.
According to Bar and Bench, Bobde asked the petitioner, 'Will you marry her?', adding:
“We are not forcing you to marry. Let us know if you will. Otherwise you will say we are forcing you to marry her.”CJI Bobde
The counsel for the petitioner replied:
“I wanted to marry her. But she refused. Now, I cannot, as I am already married. Trial is going on, charges are yet to be framed.”
The court granted interim protection to the accused for four weeks and asked him to apply for regular bail.
Chavan, the accused, reportedly used to follow the then 16-year-old girl on her way to school. The survivor is also a distant relative of the accused.
He allegedly raped the survivor after he tied her hands and legs, the first time. The accused repeated the crime 10-12 times, when the survivor was in class nine, reported Bar and Bench.
The survivor was stopped from filing a police complaint after the accused's mother promised that he would marry her. While some reports say she refused to marry him after turning 18, others maintain that he refused – prompting her to go to court.
‘Supreme Court or Khap Panchayat’: Twitter Reacts to CJI’s Question
Social media users took to Twitter to express that ‘marrying the rapist’ does nothing but harm and is more of a ‘reward than punishment.’
(With inputs from NDTV, Bar and Bench.)