Incidentally, Justice R Basant was part of the division bench that acquitted as many as 34 accused in the sensational rape case. However, the Supreme Court last month directed the high court to re-examine the matter.
In a private conversation recently, Justice Basant described the victim as a "deviant girl" and averred that "she was used for child prostitution". He pointed out that the lead judgement in the case was delivered by the late Justice KA Abdul Gafoor in 2005. Stating that he "fully supports" his colleague's findings, Justice Basant said: "If I was asked to decide the case again, I would decide in the same manner."
To a query about the Supreme Court expressing shock over the verdict, he wanted to know: "If somebody does not read the entire judgement and says I am shocked, then what can I do?"
These statements were recorded without his knowledge by a reporter working for 'Indiavision', and shown on the channel yesterday. Immediately, the judge was forced on the defensive and hit out at the channel for ignoring the ethics of journalism.
Justice Basant asserted that whatever he said off-the-record should not have been telecast. However, he drew widespread flak for commenting on the victim. According to activists, the judge had insulted women as a whole and doubted the victim's integrity.
Referring to the judge, Achuthanandan stressed: "If he goes to any place, young girls should slap him. That's what he deserves for such an absurd comment."
Slamming the judge for the "wayward remarks", CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan called for a criminal case to be registered against him under IPC sections which pertain to the protection of women.
Justice Basant was upset over the apex court setting aside a verdict that let rapists escape scot free and in sheer frustation he is now defaming the victim, the CPI-M leader noted.
The judge's statements reflect his base mindset and the people of Kerala should now decide whether all the accused in the case should have been let off, the victim's father said.