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Madras HC recalls order allowing mediation between rapist, survivor

High court judge Justice P Devadass last month said a man who raped a teenager in 2002 could leave jail for a mediation session with his victim.

india Updated: Jul 12, 2015 01:51 IST
KV Lakshmana
KV Lakshmana
Hindustan Times
A-file-photo-of-Madras-high-court-Photo-PTI( )

The Madras high court has revoked a controversial order allowing mediation between a rapist and the survivor, a decision that came days after the Supreme Court said it would be a "spectacular error" to adopt a soft approach on cases of rape.

The rollback of the order came three weeks after judge P Devadass granted interim bail to rapist V Mohan so he could meet his victim for a possible settlement. He cited the Supreme Court observation to recall his earlier order and cancelled the bail granted to the rapist.

Though the revocation order was passed on Friday, the court documents were made available on Saturday.

The previous order on June 18 had drawn severe criticism from the legal fraternity, women's groups and on social media platforms.

In his order, the judge had said "it is a fit case for attempting compromise between the parties" and added that "keeping the appellant (convict) inside the jail and asking him to participate in the mediation talk will not result in any fruitful result."

The order was challenged in a representation made to the chief justice of the Madras high court by a group of lawyers who said the observations made by the judge "undermine the meditation process and principle of appropriateness of reference."

The rape survivor, who was a minor when the incident took place, however, said she did not want mediation between her and the rapist or to be married to him. She had lost her parents following the incident and also gave birth to a child.

Taking note of the Madras HC order while dealing with another case, the Supreme Court had said any attempt at mediation in a rape case was illegal and against the dignity of the woman.

The apex court also said that judges adopting a liberal approach in cases of sexual assault would be a "spectacular error". The top court had made the observation while hearing an appeal by the Madhya Pradesh government challenging a state high court verdict acquitting a man accused of rape but convicted him of molestation.

The Madras HC judge has asked the officer in-charge of the mediation centre attached to the court to stop the parties from attending the procedure.

The rapist has been told to surrender on Monday.

Read more:

Experts debate Madras HC judge’s rape ‘mediation’ order

High Court suggestion is retrograde and insensitive