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SC seeks AG view on plea against bail conditions in sexual assault cases


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday sought the response of the attorney general’s office on a plea seeking to set aside a Madhya Pradesh High Court bail order, which directed a man accused of sexually assaulting his neighbour to visit her house and request her to tie a rakhi and gift her a box of sweets.

The bail condition trivialises the crime and undermines the dignity of the victim and the credibility of the criminal justice system, the petition filed by a group of women lawyers led by Aparna Bhatt said. The petitioners sought an immediate stay on that part of the bail condition and directions to all courts to not lay down such bail conditions that they said affect the dignity of the victim.

Arguing the case, advocate Sanjay Parikh said the order had rolled back many years of jurisprudence by going back to the days when such cases were compromised through “marriage” and “mediation”. “The trauma of the victim is trivialised,” he argued.

It also trivialises the offence, he said. Courts should not impose such bail conditions, the lawyer said, seeking a direction to all trial courts and high courts to refrain from imposing such conditions that he said would further victimise the rape or sexual assault victim. Parikh claimed courts were wont to making extraneous remarks regarding the victim while trying such cases.

That tendency must also be arrested, he said. In its July 30 order, a single-judge Indore bench of the high court had asked the accused to visit the complainant’s house along with his wife on August 3, and request her to tie a rakhi band to him “with the promise to protect her to the best of his ability for all times to come”. The high court also asked the man to pay her a token money of Rs 11,000 and another Rs 5,000 to her child for new clothes and sweets.





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