The Supreme Court on Thursday set aside Madhya Pradesh High Court's order granting bail to a man accused in a molestation case on the condition that he would tie 'Rakhi' to the victim.
As per the conditionality, the accused was asked to visit the complainant with a box of sweets and request her to tie him a rakhi with the promise to protect her to the best of his ability. The court had also asked the accused to pay ₹11,000 to the complainant as money that a brother offers to a sister during Rakhi celebrations. The court had further asked the accused to visit the complainant with his wife.
A bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar issued a slew of directions, which included training modules for sensitization of judges and emphasized that judges should avoid any kind of stereotyping.
The Attorney General (AG) K.K. Venugopal had also opposed the bail condition.
The July 30 order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court plea was challenged by Aparna Bhat and eight other women lawyers.
"The bail condition in question amounts to further victimisation of the survivor in her own house. In the context of 'Raksha Bandhan' being a festival of guardianship between brothers and sisters, the said bail condition amounts to gross trivialization of the trauma suffered by the complainant in the present case", said the plea.
The petitioners had further contended that the order has been passed by a constitutional court and there is a strong likelihood that such observations and directions may result in normalizing "what is essentially a crime and has been recognised to be so by the law."
The plea said: "It is highly objectionable for the High Court in the present case to put the complainant in a position where she is forced to accept the sum of Rs 11,000 as part of the customary ritual of Raksha Bandhan. Moreover, the said bail condition also goes a step further by stating that Respondent No. 2 (the accused) tender Rs 5,000 to the son the complainant."