Provide gender sensitisation training to judges to avoid stereotyping women, says AG KK Venugopal
Earlier, the top court had asked Attorney General and others to recommend ways to improve gender sensitivity towards victims while laying down bail conditions for sex crime offenders.
Attorney General KK Venugopal on Wednesday suggested to the Supreme Court that judges who are from the old school and have a patriarchal approach need to be sensitised to deal with cases of sexual violence.
During the hearing of a petition seeking guidelines for courts to not impose bail conditions objectifying women especially through bail orders in sexual violence cases, the AG said sensitization of judges by State Judicial Academies is needed.
Venugopal further told a Bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar that all lawyers should also undergo gender sensitisation training for two to three years.
Venugopal said, “The patriarchal approach of judges, especially of the old school where women are stereotyped, needs to be avoided with training and sensitization.”
He said when an accused is granted bail in cases of sexual violence and is a neighbour of the victim then protection needs to be given so that acid throwing instances or witness coercion does not take place.
The Bench reserved its order after hearing arguments in the case.
Earlier, the top court had asked Attorney General and others to recommend ways to improve gender sensitivity towards victims while laying down bail conditions for sex crime offenders.The Bench had sought view on a plea about courts imposing bail conditions for sex crime offenders which end up further harassing, objectifying their victims.
Nine women lawyers had approached the top court questioning the bail conditions imposed by the Madhya Pradesh High Court which directed a man accused of sexual assault to get a Rakhi tied by the victim as a condition for bail.
Approaching the top court, the women lawyers, led by advocate Aparna Bhat, said the High Court order was a “trivialisation of victim’s trauma.”
The law prescribes the victim to be kept far away from the accused, plea said, adding that instead, here the High Court has ordered the accused to visit the home of the woman -- the very place where the crime is alleged to have occurred.
The order only succeeds to victimise the woman and retards the years of work done to sensitise the courts about how damaging it would be to attempt a compromise “by way of marriage or mediation between the accused and the survivor”, plea added.
The plea said that the High Court further ordered the accused to gift the woman a sum of Rupees 11,000 “as a customary ritual usually offered by brothers to sisters on such occasion and shall also seek her blessings.”