The All-India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) has taken a strong exception to remarks made by a sitting judge of the Madras High Court recently that seemed to place equal blame on women who were victims of sexual violence.

Referring to remarks made by Justice N. Kirubakaran at a function on August 23 at Ramanathapuram, while inaugurating a fast-track Mahila court, AIDWA officer-bearers voiced their anguish that the judge had spoken about the New Delhi gang rape victim “for choosing to travel at the wrong time”.

While speaking about crimes against women, Mr. Justice Kirubakaran had said men who loved their spouses and sisters at home committed crimes against women elsewhere. “Why should women invite trouble when they are well aware that they will get into trouble in some situations?” he asked.

The gang rape and murder of a Delhi girl paved way for the amendment to the Indian Penal Code (IPC) after she sacrificed her life, but the girl should be blamed for choosing a wrong time to travel on the fateful night, he said, while advising women to avoid inviting trouble.

Questioning the attempt to say there was a right time or a wrong time for a woman to travel, AIDWA office-bearers have sent a letter of protest to the Judge, a copy of which was given to The Hindu.

The two-page letter noted that some girls and women had to venture out in the night, for work or education. “It is individual freedom, option or their necessary living/working condition,” the letter jointly sent by AIDWA national secretary U. Vasuki, State president N. Amirtham and State general P. Suganthi, said. Women’s free movement was no licence for committing offence against them, the letter said, adding that the members of judiciary should reject regressive, anti-women ideology and remarks. 

When contacted, Justice N. Kirubakaran said, “My statement was quoted in isolation by a few newspapers. Men who may be loving towards the women in their family may not behave the same way outside their homes. Therefore, I had insisted that women should be responsible about their safety till there is a change in the society,” he explained.

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