NEW DELHI: After enduring misplaced flak for its "will you marry her" query to a man accused of
by a woman years after both as minors had sexual relationship, A Supreme Cout bench headed by Chief Justice S A bobde on Monday said it always had the highest respect for womanhood.
The bench of
Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said last week's news reports and activists quoted out of context on its “will you marry her” query to create an unnecessary controversy and tarnish the image of SC and its Judges.
The bench said it had asked the petitioner man, in the context of the case, whether he would marry the complainant and had not asked him to “go and marry her”. CJI Bobde said, “the proceedings before the court in that case were completely misreported”.
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta cited section 165 of Evidence Act and said a court is mandated to ask any question in a question to discover facts or for any purpose. SG said the “will you marry her” was a perfectly valid question in the context of the case. SG said the issue was completely misreported and a section of society wrongly started targeting the court and the judges.
Advocate V K Biju said this has been the trend outside the
where a few persons quote the observations of the apex court out of context with the sole motive of creating controversy. Biju said SC had always given priority to the cases relating to hardship of women and cited a few in which the court had expeditiously heard the matters out of turn.
A pained CJI said, “the fact of the matter is that we have the highest regard for women and womanhood. The controversy was unnecessary"
The "will you marry her" query had come from the CJI-led bench last week in the peculiar facts of that case and on a reading of the entire case file appeared to be pertient. The incident pertained to 2014-15 when the boy, who could then be 16-17 year-old, had sexual intercourse with another minor girl, who was his distant relative.
The initial liaison was without condom and then used condom, the woman said in her complaint. She also said that the sexual relationship with the boy was under coercion and that she had gone to the police station with her mother to complain about it. However, when the boy's mother promised through a notarised affidavit, which too was signed by her mother, that the boys would marry her on attaining majority, she had refrained from making a complaint to the police.
When the girl attained marriageable age, she learnt that the man was not keeping the promise to marry and filed a complaint with police. The man moved trial court, which looked into the facts and circumstances of the case and relationship and granted anticipatory bail. It was in the context of the girl refraining from filing a complaint on the basis of the promise of marriage that the CJI-led bench had asked the boy whether he was still ready to marry.
But, when the boy said he cannot as he is already married, the CJI-led bench castigated him and said that he could not be granted anticipatory bail for a crime that included seduction and exploitation of a minor girl. It asked him to seek regular bail from the court while protecting him from arrest for four weeks.