Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan on Sunday suggested the society and the state must respect the decision of a rape victim if she chooses to marry the rapist.
<b1>“Due regard must be given to their personal autonomy since in some cases victim may choose to marry the perpetrator or give birth to a child conceived through forced intercourse,” the CJI said at the national consultation on access to justice, relief and rehabilitation of rape victims, organized by the women and child development ministry.
“Judges, lawyers and activists should ensure they do not take an overtly paternalistic approach when they have to make decisions for the welfare of rape victims,” Balakrishnan said in the presence of Law Minister M Veerappa Moily and Minister of State for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath.
CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said, “Today the concern is that rapists are not being punished… and there is no scheme for proper rehabilitation of rape victims. In such a situation for the CJI to make such a comment is very unfortunate.”
Tirath said the government is determined to implement the 2005 rehabilitation scheme for rape victims under which compensation could go up to Rs three lakh.