Sunday, March 7, 2010

Respect victim’s wish to marry rapist, says CJI

New Delhi: In a radical suggestion, India’s Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan on Sunday said that judges, lawyers and social activists should give “due regard” to the wishes of a rape victim if she chooses to marry the rapist or have the baby conceived from the crime.
“Judges, lawyers and social activists
should also ensure that they do not take an overtly paternalistic approach when they have to make decisions for the welfare of rape victims,” he said at a seminar here.
“Due regard must be given to their personal autonomy since in some cases the victim may choose to marry the perpetrator or choose to give birth to a child conceived through forced intercourse,” he said.
He was speaking at the seminar on “Access to Justice, Relief and Rehabilitation of Rape Victims” organised by the ministry of women and child development. Others who addressed it included law minister M Veerappa Moily and minister of state for women and child development Krishna Tirath.
“We must also keep in mind that the interests of the victim are not protected by punishing the offenders alone,” said Balakrishnan, referring to a law ministry move to enact a law to set up fast-track courts to try sex-related offences. “Adequate attention should also be drawn to suggestions for compensatory remedies and the rehabilitation of rape victims through the provision of shelter, counselling services, medical and legal aid.”

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