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CJI Bobde says his ‘will you marry her’ remark in minor rape case was ‘complete misreporting’

SC has ‘highest respect’ for women, CJI Bobde says while hearing a different case Monday. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta says the remarks were ‘twisted’.

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New Delhi: Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde Monday said he was misreported on his oral remark during a hearing in a rape case, in which he asked the accused if he would marry the victim.

“As an institution, this court has always had the highest respect to womanhood,” CJI Bobde said Monday.

“Even in that hearing, we never gave a suggestion that you should marry. We had asked, are you going to marry…there was complete misreporting,” he added.

CJI Bobde’s remark came during the hearing of a different case Monday. A bench headed by him was hearing a petition filed by a 14-year-old who had sought permission to abort her 26-week-old foetus. The girl, from Haryana, had alleged that she had been “cruelly raped” by her cousin, leading to an unwanted pregnancy. This case was adjourned to Friday, on a request from the girl’s lawyer.

During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta also asserted that the CJI’s remarks were “twisted” and that he was “quoted out of context”.

Adding to this, the Haryana girl’s lawyer said: “Some people tarnish the judiciary’s image, and some mechanism should be set up to deal with these people”.

Also read: SC collegium likely to write to Centre for inputs to decide on gay lawyer’s elevation as judge

The controversy

Earlier this month, a controversy had erupted after Justice Bobde asked a 23-year-old government servant if he would marry the woman who accused him of rape.

The court was hearing a case against Mohit Subhash Chavan, a technician in the Maharashtra State Electric Production Company Ltd who was accused of raping a minor girl in 2014-15. He was allegedly 17-18 years old then, and the girl was his distant relative and student of Class 9 at the time.

On 5 February, the Bombay High Court cancelled the anticipatory bail granted to Chavan by a lower court, on an application filed by the girl. He had then challenged this order in the Supreme Court, demanding anticipatory bail.

During the hearing, CJI Bobde asked Chavan’s lawyer: “Will you (Chavan) marry her?”

In response, the lawyer told the court that he will ask his client and inform the court.

“You should have thought before seducing and raping the young girl. You knew you are a government servant… We are not forcing you to marry. Let us know if you will, otherwise you will say we are forcing you to marry her,” the CJI had said.

Chavan’s lawyer then told the court that he initially wanted to marry her but the girl refused.

“Now I cannot as I am already married,” he told the court.

The bench, also comprising Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice V. Ramasubramanian, then granted him interim protection from arrest for four weeks, allowing him time to file for regular bail.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mazumdar)

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  1. CJI Bobde is a honourable person who believes in rule of law.

    He will do well to ignore the rants and disinformation campaigns of ultra left wing radicals and jihadist who wish to derail rule of law in INDIA.

  2. Should the observations or clarifications or comments during the hearing be reported at all ?

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