Citing religion and its capacity for reconciliation, Justice D Devadass of Madras High Court today referred the case of a minor’s rape for mediation between the victim and accused.
The victim, whose parents are no more, is the mother of a child who was born after the rape.
The order came on an appeal and a bail plea filed by the accused, V Mohan, who was convicted and sentenced to seven years and was slapped a fine Rs 2 lakh by a Mahila Court in Cuddalore in 2002 for raping the minor girl. He has not served his term. Two of his associates were charged with lesser offences.
Granting interim bail to the convict so that he could take part in the mediation process, the court said: “…even in Islam, Hinduism and Christianity, there are instances of solving the disputes in a non-belligerent manner. The result of it is very good because there is ‘no victor, no vanquished’.”
Claiming that a similar case which he had referred for mediation was near a “happy conclusion,” (the accused had agreed to marry the victim), the judgment said: “In the facts and circumstances, the case before us is a fit case for attempting compromise between the parties. ‘Mediation’ mode is best suited to them…Keeping the appellant inside the jail and asking him to participate in the mediation talk will not result in any fruitful result. He should be enabled to participate in the deliberations as a freeman and vent his feelings, open his mind and moorings. ‘Where there is a will, there is a way’.”
“Women are soft targets of male lust,” said the verdict, “they are considered as chattels, although in our country they are hailed as Sakthi, Mother, Sister, Nurse, Life Partner, Face Saver, All in one. And behind everyman’s success, they are there. They do deserve dignity than indignation.”
Directing the District Legal Services Authority in Tiruvallur and Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority to mediate, the judgment said: “The victim-girl has become mother of a child. But as on date, she is nobody’s wife. So she is an unwed mother. Now there is a big question mark looming large before the girl as well as her child, who is completely innocent. Generally, in this type of cases, the girl concerned is stated to be a victim, but really speaking the child born out of such a physical contact is also a victim. The child is a victim of circumstances. She was born to suffer a social stigma for no fault of her. It is a great tragedy.”
Justice Devadass also asked the accused to deposit a fine of Rs 1 lakh as a fixed deposit in a local bank in the victim’s name.