Imposing Bail Conditions for Sexual Offenders: SC Seeks AG’s View

This comes after MP HC ordered a man accused of sexual assault to visit his victim at home on Rakshabandhan.

2 min read
The Supreme Court of India. 

The Supreme Court on Friday, 16 October, sought Attorney General KK Venugopal's view on a plea about courts imposing bail conditions for sex crime offenders which end up further harassing their victims.

This comes after Aparna Bhat and eight other women lawyers approached the apex court months after the Madhya Pradesh High Court order directing a man accused of sexual assault to visit his victim at home on Rakshabandhan and "allow" her to tie a rakhi. This direction was given to him as a condition of bail.

The plea will be heard next on 2 November.

What Does the Plea State?

Senior advocate Sanjay Parikh, representing the women lawyers, contended that the plea is not limited to the order passed by the Madhya Pradesh High Court, but it has wider implications, as it calls into question remarks made by judges, which "objectify" victims of sexual assault.

“That the present case is of particular concern since it has taken years to undo the damaging approach followed by Courts whereby cases involving sexual offences committed against women are attempted to be compromised by way of marriage or mediation between the accused and the survivor,” the plea contended.

"The bail condition in question amounts to further victimization of the survivor in her own house. In the context of Rakshabandhan being a festival of guardianship between brothers and sisters, the said bail condition amounts to gross trivialization of the trauma suffered by the Complainant in the present case," said the plea.

‘Bail Condition Cannot Be Set Aside’

The petitioners argued that the bail condition by the High Court should be set aside.

The top court observed that a case is not made out against the Madhya Pradesh High Court bail order, as the bail condition was already met.

Bhat has contended in the plea that order has been passed by a constitutional court such as a high court of a state, and there is a strong likelihood that such observations and directions may result in normalizing "what is essentially a crime and has been recognized to be so by the law."

The plea said: "It is highly objectionable for the High Court in the present case to put the Complainant in a position where she is forced to accept the sum of Rs 11,000 as part of the customary ritual of Rakhshabandhan. Moreover, the said bail condition also goes a step further by stating that Respondent No. 2 (the accused) tender Rs 5,000 to the son the complainant."

(With inputs from IANS)

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