Free Press Journal

Petitioner blames woman’s attire for rise in rape cases


Indian students and teachers shout anti-government and police slogans as they demand the resignation of the Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit during a protest in New Delhi on December 21, 2012, following the gang-rape of a student. Indian police have arrested the driver and four others of a bus after a student was gang-raped and thrown out of the vehicle, reports said, in an attack that has sparked fresh concern for women's safety in New Delhi. AFP PHOTO/ RAVEENDRAN

Mumbai: “We want to hear the common man’s views,” the Bombay High Court said today allowing a petitioner to put forth his arguments after he contended that rape cases have risen due to the “kind of clothes” worn by women, prompting angry lawyers to object and ask whether it would also explain child rapes.

A division bench of Justices Naresh Patil and S B Shukre, which was hearing a bunch of petitions on the issue of women safety in the city, then asked the petitioner Chandrakanth Palav, a senior citizen, to stop his argument and posted all the petitions for further hearing next week.

Palav, while appearing in court, today told the bench that rape cases have increased because of the kind of clothes women wear. “Women these days wear tight clothes like jeans, kurtas and short tops,” Chandrakanth said, adding that this was leading to rise in rape cases.

All the other lawyers appearing in the matter including petitioners’ advocates Rajeev Chavan, Maharooq Adenwala, Madhav Jamdar and the government pleaders P P Kakade and Geeta Shashtri took objection to Palav’s argument.

“How does a woman’s attire affect crime against women. We take objection to such a line of argument. This is putting the entire blame on the victim (woman),” Chavan and Adenwala said.

To this, Justice Naresh Patil said, “Let him speak. We want to hear the common man’s view.” Chavan, however, said if as per Palav’s case, rapes occur due to the revealing clothes then what about rapes on minor children. “Three and four-year-old girls are raped. What revealing clothes did they wear?” Chavan questioned.

Government pleaders Kakade and Shashtri also told the court that Dharmadhikari committee set up to look into the issue of women safety called for a change in the mentality of men in order to curb rapes and other crimes against women. The court then asked Palav to stop his argument and posted all the petitions for further hearing next week.