New Delhi: Courts should act like Lord Krishna from the epic Mahabharata and protect women’s safety, the Karnataka High Court observed while rejecting an appeal filed by a man who is convicted of raping a 69-year-old woman.
In a judgment passed on 8 September, the bench comprising Justices B. Veerappa and E.S. Indiresh observed, “Though the Indian Penal Code was enacted by Act 45 of 1860, and even after the lapse of 74 years of Independence, women still are not safe in the hands of violators of law.”
It added, “Now time warrants that the court should act as guardians and protect dharma in order to protect the safety of women, as contemplated under Article 21 of the Constitution…and deal with the violators, including rapists, sternly and severely with iron hands…courts should act as Lord Shri Krishna of Mahabharata to protect dharma.”
The court was hearing an appeal filed by one Nagesh who had challenged a judgment passed in November 2014 that convicted him of rape, criminal intimidation and robbery. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.
The survivor had earlier alleged that Nagesh raped her at knife point in July 2013. The accused now denied the allegations made against him.
‘Courts cannot act like a mute spectator’
In the judgment, the bench also quoted a verse from the Bhagavad Gita which translates to: “Whenever there is decay of righteousness O Bharata…For protection of the good, for the destruction of evil-doers…For the sake of firmly establishing righteousness, I am born from age to age.”
It then observed that courts cannot act like a “mute spectator” and allow women to face injustice for generations.
Upholding Nagesh’s conviction, the court said that the “act of sexual attack on an aged woman” was like “cruel animal”. It also added that the survivor “never dreamt of such an inhuman behaviour by the accused who used to address her as grandmother”.
“The sexual assault made by the accused is not against an old aged women, but against the entire society. It is the rape on the grandmother. Such an act cannot be encouraged,” it noted, asserting that Nagesh had caused “psychological as well as physical harm” to the woman.
The bench later took note of the medical evidence and witnesses’ accounts. Jewellery belonging to the woman that was allegedly robbed was also recovered from Nagesh.