New Delhi, Mar 8: The Chief Justice of India (CJI) KG Balakrishnan has defended a rape victim's right to chose to marry her rapist and said that 'due respect' should be given to the woman's decision.
“Due regard must be given to their personal autonomy since in some cases victim may choose to marry the perpetrator or give birth to a child conceived through forced intercourse," the CJI said on Sunday, Mar 7.
Mr Balakrishnan's statement came at national consultation on access to justice, relief and rehabilitation of rape victims, organized by the women and child development ministry.
“Judges, lawyers and activists should ensure they do not take an overtly paternalistic approach when they have to make decisions for the welfare of rape victims," he added.
When asked by reporters to respond to it, Brinda Karat, general secretary, All India Democratic Women"s Association raised concern over the low conviction rates in rape cases and termed the CJI's statement as 'unfortunate'.
The statement also invited the ire of National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Girija Vyas.
“If what he has suggested were to happen, it would be an easy way out for the rapists, who would first commit rape and then, if caught, make an offer to marry the victim. For the victim, such a marriage would be like dying every moment. Rapists deserve the strongest possible punishment," she is quoted as saying in a media report