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'Court no marriage bureau for rapists'
Ehtasham Khan in New Delhi | May 05, 2005 15:51 IST
Lawyers and socials activists have criticised a Delhi court for considering a rapist's offer to marry his victim.
However, the fact that the court asked the victim and her family to file a reply to the rapist's offer has surprised lawyers and women activists.
Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Brinda Karat, who accompanied the victim to the court, said: "The court is not a marriage bureau for rapists and criminals. The judge has set a wrong precedent. Every rapist will take it for granted now. He will know he can get away with it. This will encourage a heinous crime like rape."
Social activist Ruksana Chaudhary said, "If the accused was remorseful, he should have made the proposal in the beginning and not after two years of trial. This is nothing but a cruel joke."
The nurse was attending to a comatose patient when the ward boy raped her. She was found unconscious in a bathroom the next morning.
Her fight for justice continues
Madhu Kishwar, editor of the women's magazine Manushi, said: "It is unthinkable. How can a judge accept such a request? This is so cruel. This only reflects our mindset."
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan said the marriage proposal could not have saved the rapist from the punishment due to him, which is a minimum of 10 years of imprisonment or a life term.
He said the law has been classified as compoundable and non-compoundable offences. "This was not a compoundable offence, so there was no point in entertaining such an application."
Bhushan said this case was sensitive in the way the woman was raped. Therefore, he felt, there was no reason to summon her to court to reply to such a proposal.
Raj Mangal Prashad of the voluntary group Pratidhi said: "The role of the court is to convict an accused depending on the evidence. The court should confine (its role) to that and nothing else. Once the accused is convicted, he should be sentenced."
Swati Mishra, a student of Delhi's Kirori Mal College, said: "How can one live with such a person? I praise the woman for her decision. She is a brave woman. I would prefer to stay unmarried for the rest of my life than marrying a rapist."