New Delhi: The Chief Justice of India SA Bobde on Monday (March 8) said that as an institution and Court, “We have always had the highest respect for womanhood” and have never asked a rape accused to marry the victim. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Bobde maintained that the Court has the highest respect for womanhood as an institution, and there was “misreporting” on its recent queries in a rape case.
“We never asked anyone to marry,” Chief Justice said. His query to rape accused — `Will you marry her?` was in the facts of that case, said Chief Justice clarifying that Court never gave a suggestion that “You should marry her”.
“This court has always given the largest respect to women. Even in that hearing, We never gave a suggestion that you should marry, we had asked are you going to marry. It has been completely misreported,” the Chief Justice said while referring to a case where he asked a state government employee, facing charges of raping a relative when she was a minor if he intended to marry her.
The remark of Chief Justice Bobde caused a stir and a group of more than 4,000 women`s rights activists and progressive groups have written an open letter to him, saying that he must resign for asking a rapist to marry his schoolgoing victim and justifying marital rape in the Supreme Court.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that Court`s statements were taken out of context and were twisted, statements can be twisted and will mean something different.
The Bench today made the observation while hearing a plea of a 14-year-old girl, who wants to terminate her unwanted 26 week-pregnancy.
Advocate VK Biju, appearing for the 14-year-old girl, told the Bench that people were trying to tarnish the Judiciary`s image, and some mechanism should be set up to deal with these people.
The Bench said that its reputation lies at the hands of the bar. The apex court adjourned the matter for Friday after advocate Biju requested an adjournment in the case.
Haryana government last week told the Supreme Court that the medical report of a 14-year-old girl, who wants to terminate her unwanted 26 week-pregnancy, is ready and will be submitted to the Court.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA asked the government to submit the report to examine if it would be safe for a 14-year-old girl to terminate her 26 week-pregnancy and posted the matter for hearing on March 8.
The girl in her plea said she was raped by her cousin brother that led to the unwanted pregnancy. She has approached the apex court seeking permission to terminate her 26 weeks-pregnancy.