Madras HC recalls its controversial order for mediation in rape case

Saturday, Jul 11, 2015,18:57 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Chennai | Over a fortnight after its order sparked an outrage, the Madras High Court today recalled its controversial direction to a rapist and the victim to try out a compromise by mediation and cancelled the bail granted to him. The court directed the accused to surrender before the Mahila Court at Cuddalore on July 13.
The recall order came in the light of the recent Supreme Court verdict in which it had observed that it would be a spectacular error to adopt a soft approach on cases of rape which is against the dignity of women and made it clear that there cannot be any compromise in such matters. In his June 23 order, Justice P Devadass had directed the rapist, who was sentenced to seven years imprisonment by a trial court, to go for mediation, triggering angry reactions particularly from women’s rights groups.
In this case, the judge said the rape survivor, who became pregnant and delivered a baby daughter, is nobody’s wife… an unwed mother, suggesting that her best option would be to reach a settlement with the man who assaulted her. The judge had said that in another case where he had made a similar intervention, a happy conclusion was reached with the rapist agreeing to marry the victim.
Castigating the order, several organisations said every rapist will take this route when confronted with a jail term. Many activists wrote to the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, calling it unacceptable. In his order today, Justice P Devadass said, In view of the judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in State of Madhya Pradesh VS Madanlal case, the earlier order of this Court directing the parties to go for mediation is recalled.
Consequently, the interim bail granted to the petitioner is cancelled. The judge directed the officer-in-charge of Mediation Centre to stop the parties from proceeding in the matter. The Judge directed the Registrar (Judicial) of High Court to ensure compliance to his latest order on the matter. He also asked the Mahila Court to secure him and commit him to Central Prison.
Accused V Mohan was sentenced to seven years in jail for raping a 15-year-old orphan in 2008, who became pregnant.  Not willing to go for the mediation offer, the victim, now aged 22, suspected this to be another ruse by the accused to escape punishment. A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra had said that, When a human frame is defiled, the ‘purest treasure’, is lost.
Dignity of a woman is a part of her non-perishable and immortal self and no one should ever think of painting it in clay. There cannot be a compromise or settlement as it would be against her honour which matters the most. The Supreme Court’s comments were made in the context of a rape case from Madhya Pradesh.
The apex court had criticised a Madhya Pradesh High Court judge who was influenced by the compromise entered into between the accused Madan Lal and the parents of the seven-year-old victim and had set aside the conviction and five-year sentence for the rape.