‘Will You Marry Her?’ CJI Bobde Says Media Misreported His Remark

During a hearing on Monday, the Chief Justice emphasised that the Supreme Court has the ‘highest respect for women’.

2 min read
Chief Justice of India SA Bobde.

Chief Justice of India SA Bobde on Monday, 8 March, clarified that his questioning of a government employee if he would marry the woman who had accused him of repeatedly raping her, was “misreported” by the media. He further reiterated that the Supreme Court has the “highest respect for women”.

The Chief Justice’s clarification comes in the wake of the social media backlash over his comments on 1 March during the bail hearing of a 23-year-old man accused of raping a 16-year-old girl six years ago.

During the proceedings, he had asked the accused, “Will you marry her?”

‘Media Misreported’

The Chief Justice’s clarification on Monday came during a hearing of a plea moved by a 14-year-old rape survivor seeking an abortion of her pregnancy, according to Live Law.

In a statement, the petitioner’s counsel thanked the court for being “generous towards the girl”. In response, the Chief Justice said, “It’s good to hear that. We have heard opposite opinions in the last two weeks.”

Afterwards, he went on to clarify the context in which his earlier remarks were made. He said:

“Even in that hearing, we never gave a suggestion that you should marry. We had asked, are you going to marry!”

The Background

The Supreme Court on 1 March had asked a government servant accused of repeatedly raping a minor girl whether he would marry the victim.

This exchange happened while the Chief Justice was hearing an appeal regarding the Bombay High Court’s order to set aside anticipatory bail that was given to the accused by the Sessions Court.

He had asked, “Will you marry her?”, to which the advocate said, “I will take instructions.”

To that, the Chief Justice further said, “You should have thought before seducing and raping the young girl. You knew you are a government servant.”

Days after, the Bar Council of India came out in strong defence of the Supreme Court judges.

In a statement released on 4 March, the council criticised “a handful of politicians” and “so-called social activists” for casting personal aspersions on the Supreme Court judges.

It further added that immediate steps need to be taken to stop the practice of “malicious media attack”.

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