July 7, 2022

AIPWA protest in Bengaluru over CJI’s ‘Will you marry her?’ remark

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A seething member, from All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) stated, “Enabler of crime is as much of a criminal as one found guilty. By pronouncing the statement in the highest court of Indian Judiciary, the Chief Justice of India has committed a crime.” AIPWA members had gathered around the Mysore Bank Circle on Saturday as a move to protest against Chief Justice SA Bobde’s controversial remarks for instances of rape.

In a hearing with Supreme Court over the bail request of one Mohit Chavan who is alleged to be sexually assaulting a schoolgirl and the CJI asked him if he would want to get married to the survivor. Chavan, an employee of Maharashtra State Electric Production Company, is facing charges with respect to Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act and had asked protection from arrest. The CJI was reported to address the issue with Chavan’s counsel iterating that he either can marry the victim otherwise would have to lose his job and face a jail term. Within the heat of words, CJI asked Chavan, “Will you marry her?”

The comment was highly criticized, with AIPWA members saying it was unbecoming of the CJI to pass such a comment.

Dimple, a member of the association asked, “How does marrying the victim absolve one of their crime. Presenting her perspective, Dimple said not understanding the concept of consent with a blend of patriarchy triggers people to treat women as their properties.

Gandhimati, another member of their association said, “It was 100 years ago that women had no liberty, and status of equality. Even in this day and age of technology if someone of his stature makes a statement like this, it indicates a lack of progress. It also denies a woman her personhood.”

Both of them further termed his act as irresponsible but also gives an encouragement to the ideologies that a woman’s dignity is in her vagina, thereby delegitimising the personhood of the survivor. They also added that CJI’s statement should also be viewed as a criminal activity.

“Instead of punishing the criminals, the CJI is making this blanket statement that would further aggravate the condition of the woman. Did he even think of the repercussions his words would bear on the victim and the society?” said Poornashree.

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