Live chat: Rapist-victim 'mediation'

File photo of the Madras High Court.

File photo of the Madras High Court.  


In a follow-up to the The Hindu's #JusticeDenied social media campaign, we conducted a live chat on the Madras High Court judge's order directing a rapist to mediate with his victim, drawing in readers and experts to opine on this order.

After a Madras High Court judge P. Devadass wrote his order directing a rapist, who had applied for bail, to ‘mediate’ with his victim, outrage broke out.

The Hindu conducted a live chat on the issue with its readers and experts pitching in. Ramya Kannan, City Editor, The Hindu moderated the chat.

Sudha Ramalingam, Human rights and gender-issues lawyer, and Vasundhara Sirnate, Chief Coordinator of Research at The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, also participated in the chat.

Below is the transcript of the chat.

3:07 The Hindu: Welcome to The Hindu's live chat on 'Justice denied: Rapist-victim mediation'.

3:09 The Hindu: We have with us Ramya Kannan, City Editor, The Hindu, Sudha Ramalingam, Human rights and gender-issues lawyer, and Vasundhara Sirnate, Chief Coordinator of Research at The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy.

3:59 V. Sirnate: Hello everyone.

4:02 Ramya Kannan: Hello, there!

4:02 Sudha Ramalingam: Hello

4:03 V. Sirnate: Sudha Ma'am I read your comments on the judgment. So true and accurate.

4:03 Sudha Ramalingam: thanks

4:05 Comment From Sunny: What is the issue in mediation with rape victim

4:06 V. Sirnate: Rape is a crime.. not a civil offense

4:06 Sudha Ramalingam: rape is a heinous crime, which is non-compoundable

4:07 The Hindu: Here is The Hindu's story on the Madras High Court judge P. Devadass who wrote his order directing a rapist, who had applied for bail, > to ‘mediate’ with his victim.

4:07 Comment From Yogesh: Rapist-victim 'mediation' reminds me of cases in pakistan where minorities girls are kidnapped, raped and then forced for marriage under pressure. This meditation is similar move to encourage rapists.

4:07 Comment From Guest: A rapist is a criminal an outlaw..he doesnt deserve any chance to express himself whatsoever..let alone mediation..

4:07 Comment From Sriram: Is there popular support in sections of society for these decisions? How much do you blame cinema for promoting twisted morality involving rapists getting reconciled to and marrying their victims? Of course, the judiciary has no business getting influenced.

4:08 Comment From Guest: Hi, Thanks for rejecting the mediation. The judgement is wrong as it will set a precedent whereby men will start raping the women with whom they have one side love / crush so that they can marry them at their mercy.

4:08 Comment From Sham: How can anyone imagine a girl accepting a rapist as husband?

4:08 Comment From Syed Imtiyaz AHmed: Judgement is not correct. how come after jail term, he will take the responsibility for the girl and the child ?

4:08 Comment From Ahish: is there any precedence of this kind of action anywhere in the world?

4:08 Comment From Shreya: The purpose of justice is to restore order in society. this involves mediation too. I think there is nothing wrong if there is genuine sense of guilt on the part of the criminal and he wants to amend for the same. In any case, given our present sociatal status no one is going to marry the rape victim. So why not give a chance to both of them to work out something?

4:08 Comment From Naveen: Judge's remark shows the attitude of people in law enforcement in general. Since the time of Delhi rape incident and more importantly the public outrage over it, there has been no change.

4:08 Sudha Ramalingam: popular media cannot supersede law.

4:09 Comment From jayaranman: What if during the mediation, the rapist agrees to take care of the victim and later on reneges on the promises? In such a situation what remedy does the court offer?

4:09 Comment From Praveen: We have seen such kind of decisions only in age old movies only. The judge got biased from those i guess.

4:09 Comment From Ratnesh Shukla lawyer: It has been seen that courts send for mediation parties in a matrimonial dispute. but in a heinous crime it is unheard of

4:09 Comment From Sunny: so once a criminal always a criminal

4:09 V. Sirnate: This is a case where the act of rape is not seen as a serious crime. This particular judgment runs contrary to what women have been fighting for in this country.

4:10 Comment From balu: I think this is the best way to sort out the problem

4:10 V. Sirnate: We don't know the extent of support for such judgments in society, but as an anecdote I can certainly point to a few instances in rural north India where khap panchayats have advocated mediation. Coming from a khap, I would expect no better. But this is a judge of the Madras High Court. How is this humanly possible in a logical world?

4:10 Sudha Ramalingam: yes. even suggesting that marriage is the solution to confront a rapist and reform him or to mainstream the victim and the child born out of such crime is unacceptable

4:11 Comment From Naveen: I think the judge was in a hurry. Generally they ask parties to settle the issue amongst themselves if its a civil case. But this is a criminal case.

4:11 V. Sirnate: Sham: Imagine how can you advertise a rapist as a husband for ANY woman? You're quite right in asking that question

4:11 Ramya Kannan: MEdiation cant work everywhere, IMO. Civil disputes, sometimes custody rights and matrimonial issues, perhaps. But how can a judge ask a victim of the most heinous crime - rape - to negotiate and marry her rapis?

4:11 Comment From Indranil: In our country where a majority of rape cases go undercover un-complained unnoticed just because of forceful 'mediation' between the parties..given such a chance to any rapist will definitely send wrong vibes throughout the country and the world at large regarding India.. I believe its time to rethink the decision..Hon'ble court

4:12 Comment From Praveen: more so wrong because the victim has shown no such interest..!!

4:13 Comment From Guest: this rises so many issues to be addressed.. as per the news the victim is otherwise abled..if the accused is realised his mistake and wanted to give her a respectable life in the society .. perhaps may be some strength init.. i do not know how many of us will support the victim to live life with equal emotion / support after some years.. i am not supporting might is right.. but what best remedy can be there to this..

4:13 Comment From Guest: To say it would set a precedent is wrong.

4:13 Sudha Ramalingam: If the case was of real romance between late teenagers then the scenario could be different but in this case the victim was 15 and she had to go for a DNA to prove paternity, the convict cannot be said to have committed the act with the consent of the victim to let him go scott free

4:14 Comment From Venkat: India is one country in the name of rehab. any crime can be committed. Right from murder.. So this is not a surprise

4:14 Comment From sreekar s: The notion of rape victims are impure and are unfit for marriage as their virginity is lost must go away .Humans are not objects to be treated like brand new , used . Because of this mindset many people are supporting the idea of marrying the victim to the rapist .

4:14 Ramya Kannan: The convict has been consistently refusing to even look at the girl born out of that union.

4:14 Comment From srinivas: Mediate with the victim- should be in presence of Judge and in court. What ever the victim's wish has to be fulfilled.If victim denies to grant the bail accused should be kept in jail.For any other reasons if they compromise it's their wish.

4:15 Comment From Dharmendra: What would your position be if this happened in wedlock and this was aground for 'divorce' i.e. it amounted to cruelty? A mediation in that situation would be something a Judge could be compelled to order because marital rape is not recognized in India.

4:15 V. Sirnate: Once a criminal Sunny, serve the sentence and then get registered as a sex offender. That is the precedent we should be setting down. There can be no compromise on a criminal act.

4:15 Comment From Guest: All rape cases should not have 'mediation', we need to leave it to the Judge to take a call. Should not be debated in media. There are case where we need to have mediation for rape.

4:15 Ramya Kannan: May I point out here, that it was the hearing of a bail application MERELY. The judge has clearly exceeded his brief by going ahead and ordering mediation.

4:16 Comment From Guest: How can the court, the most respected arm which protects our constitutional rights, recommend any such thing. Have we not learned anything from the Nirbhaya and many such cases? Are we protecting the rape victim or victimising her further for her whole life by making her live with a criminal!

4:16 Sudha Ramalingam: mediation in such heinous crimes denies victim justice. the accused can go scott free after committing serious offences. people will loose faith in the judiciary

4:16 Comment From Vinod: Why we give bail to such criminals. Never think on humanity grounds as this is not the one case.Its happened, happening and going to happen again and again. We Need to protect and respect Women. So we want strict justice without any extension of period for punishment. Give instant punishments, then only crime rate will reduce.

4:16 V. Sirnate: What is respect my friends? Why do we think that a rape victim (who has done no wrong and committed no crime) is unworthy of society's respect?

4:17 V. Sirnate: The victim is not the legal system or process. The law must take the procedure laid down by law.

4:17 Sudha Ramalingam: True Ramya. He has exceeded his brief. The problem here is that the Judge is an honest well meaning person, he seems to be more swayed by his humanitarian concern for the victim and more than that the child born to the victim. Having said that I still feel that it is not to be encouraged

4:18 V. Sirnate: Then it would be a case of marital rape Dharmendra. Sadly, we have repeatedly refused to criminalize marital rape or even recognize it as a crime.

4:18 Dennis S. Jesudasan: When one says that the order was passed keeping in mind the welfare of the father less child, we forget the fact that the woman has a life of her own and she has rights over her body

4:18 Comment From senthil: What kind of life can a rapist give to his victim? Pathetic. Poor victim now forced to undergo second humiliation.

4:18 V. Sirnate: Good point Ms. Kannan

4:18 Comment From Yashwanth: Initially I thought maybe the victim herself asked for "settlement" out of pressure and stigma. But shockingly today I read that she herself is against any such move -- considering this aspect, it is clearly criminal thing on part of the Judge to allow the rapist to mediate. Clearly, the Judge crossed all the limits.

4:19 Sudha Ramalingam: Bail and jail should be the rule till the appeal is over. that does not mean that he can be absolved of his crime if he marries the victim

4:19 Comment From NT: Rape is a criminal offence and not a dispute over property or custody to demand meditation. In a country currently under such intense scrutiny from both national and international media regarding the appalling state of how women are treated in our country, the fact that one of the pillars of our democracy makes such an unfit decision is truly tragic. The victim here deserves far better than such a low life, the very fact that she was raped will have long lasting emotional, social and psychological repercussions. For us to then stand by and allow this disgraceful judgement to actually pass is an even more appalling indicator of what democracy in India actually is

4:19 Comment From Vinod: I am saying Law should take strict action on rapists without any delay. From my point of view, one shouldn't see rape victim separately. She didn't do any mistake and we stand in support with her.

4:20 Comment From Guest: Senthil: I think we need to correct the idea that this is a SECOND humiliation. This is the first humiliation. Rape as a heinous act does not and should not humiliate the victim. It isn't a wrong act that she has done

4:20 Comment From Shwetambera: I believe the country needs an overhaul in the judicial activism that exists currently. The courts have forgotten that they need to interpret the laws and the constitution in a manner that is more just than textbookish. I refuse to believe that any constitution is so rigid that individuals cannot uphold the idea of justice by re-interpreting it or resisting mis-interpretation.

4:20 Ramya Kannan: Sudha, i think the problem with the judge is that he's so patriarchal, and patronising. His order is full of plattitudes on the state of women and the need to ensure their welfare in society.

4:20 Dennis S. Jesudasan: By mediating between the offender and the survivor in a pare case, the society is only handing the survivor again to the offender. And this time, along with the child

4:20 V. Sirnate: I am glad to see such solidarity with the victim of this crime. We need to act like this collectively for every single victim (male and female) of sexual violence.

4:21 Comment From Guest: why would you think the judge might have done this?

4:21 Dennis S. Jesudasan: @Sirnate, I second that. There should be a basic understanding of law for everyone to know their rights

4:21 Comment From NISHA: A request to The Hindu Group and everyone in this conversation. Could we please refer to the affected individual as a SURVIVOR and not a VICTIM.

4:22 Comment From Sriram: Judging by the comments on this forum, it looks like there are enough regressive social conservatives in our country even today. Many of them are saying, 'its not me, it is society'. They implicitly believe that rape is actually not a big offence as long as the girl is reconciled with her abuser. If this is the English-educated middle class, what hope do we have that women will be safe in our country for the next 50 years?

4:22 Ramya Kannan: good point, Nisha.

4:22 V. Sirnate: Nisha I prefer to refer to them as survivor-victims..

4:22 Sudha Ramalingam: True Ramya. I know him. He is otherwise a liberal judge. But his sympathies are misplaced. Often we come across well-meaning judges having patriarchal ideas, thinking that they are doing good to the women thrust their views on women

4:22 Comment From Vivek: Rape should remain a non compound able crime. No mediation would be enough to undo damages to victim.

4:22 Comment From Vinod: Well said Nisha

4:22 V. Sirnate: We cannot take away their victimhood because the law needs to see them as victims. The law is not concerned with their surviving.

4:23 V. Sirnate: But yes, they are survivors too.

4:23 Comment From NISHA: V Sirnate: Fair enough. But it is important to remind them that they are Survivors and not Victims. There is a way and life ahead and this is not the end in itself.

4:23 Comment From Guest: Mistakes can be mediated/negotiated and can be sorted-out, BUT crimes cannot be. Whatever, the criminal should go thru first the punishment before he establishes fit to even join the mainstream in the society. No way for mediation in this case, and punishment is HUMANITARIAN to protect the order in the larger society !

4:23 Comment From senthil: (I stand corrected sir.) Law is very clear. Rape is not a compoundable offence. only to circumvent law, in some cases, the accused offers to marry the survivor - victim. But in this case, when no party has come forward with such a proposal, I wonder why should court has taken pains to force them for enter into an unwilling life.

4:24 Comment From Sasanka: Do you people think the judge should reveal the logic behind this decision?

4:24 Dennis S. Jesudasan: @Sriram, an advocate once pointed out to me that a crime is committed against the society even if it is committed against an individual. And that's exactly why the respondent in these cases are the State.

4:24 V. Sirnate: The judge is clearly someone who sees his role as that of a benevolent patriarch. Let's settle this matter outside court suggests him saying rape is not a big deal.

4:24 Sudha Ramalingam: I only have my reservations with the present law where mandatory age of consent has been raised to 18, criminalizing genuine acts of love due to the bar on age .......

4:25 Comment From Guest: When the UP CM can silence the journalists family with 30 lakh cash, when Salman can silence his wrong doing by 'Being human' charities, what is the fuss in this case ? It is the girl who has to decide and the court has merely paved the way. She is the victim and she needs to decide her future.

4:25 Comment From kumar: So what is a better solution?

4:25 Comment From Guest: V Sirnate - You are completely right. When issues regarding rape are debated in this country, almost every person arguing for more severe punishment for the offender says that 'the victims life is destroyed after rape'. This idea of the victim's life being ruined forever is accepted as an apriori truth by everyone. People need to realize that it is we as a society who are making it inifinitely harder for rape victims to lead a normal life just by saying such things and adopting such an attitude.

4:25 Comment From senthil: It would be better that this order is recalled.

4:25 Dennis S. Jesudasan: @Sasanka, the judge has already revealed his logic behind his decision in the order, which to many, lay outside the framework of law.

4:25 Comment From Radhakrishnan: The judgment raises the question Who will judge the Judges. Mediation in rape cases has the potential to increase rape and ruin family as an institution.

4:25 Comment From Anbudan Chandru: Hello People!!, Court is yet to give the final verdict after the hearing from both the parties. As the victim is no stand to allow him to her life, Court will take this while giving its final stand. Hopefully we can expect a judgement against the criminal. It is just a bail plea, still long way to go!!

4:26 V. Sirnate: When someone commits a murder, the law does not try to reach an out of court settlement. EVEN Salman Khan was sentenced. A process is done. If the process ends in an acquittal so be it. But to suggest this at a bail hearing?

4:26 Comment From Vivek: All helps should be provided to survivor but not from the accused. This is institutionalisation of crime itself.

4:26 Comment From Srinivasan Selvaraj: The compensation amount awarded to the victim is not even enough to meet her daily needs. Taking into account that the victim is a mother of girl child, the court should solicite more more from the convict to support the victim, without which justice cannot be deemed to be honoured.

4:26 Sudha Ramalingam: The victim in this case was 15 years old when she was raped. The accused has claimed that this was not a violent crime, and that it was consensual intercourse. Minors under the age of 16 are regarded as incapable of giving consent, and according to the IPC, in addition to non-consensual rape, sexual intercourse with an underage girl is also rape. After the Nirbhaya incident, the law has been changed and the age of consent has been increased to 18 years. Increasing the age of consent, whilst a populist move, makes consensual relationships between teenagers a crime. Due to changes in cultural norms and mores, teenagers are increasingly sexually active. It is thus quite counter-intuitive to increase the age of consent. The result of this change in the law is that an 18 year old boy who is in a voluntary, intimate relationship with a 17 year old girl would be equated to a violent sexual offender. The law does not distinguish between the two cases. The decision of the Madras High Court brings to light the dilemma that legal practitioners and judges face whilst dealing with age of consent issues. The decision of the High Court was regarding the unamended IPC where the age of consent was 16 years old. In light of the recent amendment that increases the same to 18, one can anticipate further instances where the Courts seek the refuge of ADR, or other such mechanisms, in their bid to be humane and deliver individualized justice. However, the systemic impact of such decisions cannot be underestimated. Endorsing ADR in case of rape undermines the seriousness of the offence and opens out opportunities for those accused to buy their way out, or worse, marry their way out of jail.

4:27 Comment From asr murthy: Any mediation , with the hon'ble judge acting as a Broker, can take place only after the convict completes his sentence, subject to the victim agreeing to such a mediation.

4:27 Comment From Vihit: Settlement is no solution or punishment to the rapist..Its indeed a punishment to the victim.

4:28 Comment From senthil: @ Mr.Chandru. Sir, the issue is whether the court was right, even in suggesting mediation between rapist and survivor. This very live chat would not be happening had the court acquitted the accused on merits. giving verdict on appeal is one thing and judicial activism is another.

4:28 V. Sirnate: A victim of a murder or an attempted murder is not asked to submit to mediation. Why should rape victims?

4:29 Comment From: Give a chance to the offender to correct the situation as Srinivas says. Have a back up plan in case he runs away from teh agreement

4:29 Comment From Disenfranchised youth: Honestly though, we like to talk about India as a functioning democracy. It's a sham, and this proves it yet again. Our very judiciary is handing out laughable albeit pathetic judgements. His personal views and personality aside, this doesn't even bear consideration. It's 2015, wake up and smell the coffee people... This isn't a judgement based on procedural law.. This is a sentence a kangaroo court in India in the 18th century would have handed out, along with dowry, sati and all those wonderful traditions we had. Shall we reinstate those too? While we are anyway making a mockery of our judicial system

4:29 Comment From Guest: Since everybody is talking in one direction, that of criticizing the judgement. I think we shall try an bring in an argument that explains the other side of the story. Does anyone think that we may be overreacting in judging the comments of the judge?

4:29 V. Sirnate: How can a rapist "correct" a situation? Rape is an act of sexual power over the body of a woman. This behaviour stems from deep misogyny or a special kind of hatred of women. how can you possibly correct a crime like this?

4:30 Comment From The Hindu daily reader: Rape is no doubt a heinous crime, but society is actually responsible for that, you can't hang rapist because it will not be the justice, there will not be difference between ISIS jihadists and fanatics and an educated society.

4:30 Comment From Srinivasan Selvaraj: Yes, i agree. Settlement is no solution. At the same time, punishing the rapist wont be the solution for the victim. She needs to live. She has to be empowered. Right to Life. Life with Dignity.

4:30 Comment From Guest: If both the parties agree for mediation, what is the problem with you people ??!! The honourable judge is finding a solution. Life of both will be better

4:30 Comment From Vivek: If it was a consensual act, it would have thrown out already. Mis-use of rape laws is highly overrated. Conviction rates ar too low that they even miss out genuine cases. So in this particular case also, there is least doubt it was not an act of rape. Further, real question is should mediation at any level of judiciary should be used as a resolution method?? !no...

4:31 Comment From Adi: I am fail to understand the thought process.. Rather then helping victims to settle again and live a normal life, why are people bringing religion virginity out of context!

4:31 Sudha Ramalingam: If both parties had agreed there would have been no complaint and hence no case

4:31 V. Sirnate: No we are not overreacting in responding to this judgment. This is not an over reaction. This is resistance to the patriarchal norms that have always stayed even within the legal process. Do not make any mistake about that.

4:31 Comment From asr murthy: Surprised to see many pseudo layers/pseudo law abiding citizens among us. Such illegal judgments cannot be accepted as lawful, however deceitful the language we camouflage it with. Such justifications will soon be used to handle murder, theft, sedition, incest, etc.

4:31 Comment From Guest: Punishment is not a revenge against the criminal, and also does not give any relief to the victim. But punishment is a means of protection for the civilized society and uphold the values and order of the society. Hence, no reason or justification can be done for mediation or consideration for the crime done.

4:32 Comment From Guest: The judge is only trying to find a practical solution - perhaps it will not work. But it is surprising to see so many people up in arms and equating this crime (possibly consensual) to murder...

4:32 Comment From senthil: @ Mr.Srinate. I think it is an age old custom that has crept into judiciary even. But I earnestly believe no rapist will agree to marry his victim wholeheartedly. Only during criminal proceedings, to escape the noose of law, such an offer is made. have this society seen any happily married rapist and his victim? No. Then why this mediation proposal by court. Even a thought about it is disgusting.

4:32 Comment From Guest: While the girl's life is destroyed after rape, so also for rapist. Rape can be undone but the situation can be made better by mediation.

4:32 V. Sirnate: @The daily reader. No one here is talking about hanging rapists. lets not turn this into a debate about capital punishment. It takes us off topic.

4:32 Comment From @guest: Let me guess, you are a man and you've never been sexually harassed let alone raped. The next time someone physically and emotionally strips you of all your rights and your control. Then we'll talk.. Until then keep your patriarchal bs to yourself

4:32 Dennis S. Jesudasan: Even if it was consensual, this case is different because the survivor was only a Class 10 student when the crime was committed

4:32 Comment From Guest: In fact even a jail term of 10 years is not enough for rapists and upon this, a Judge of a HC gives such a Judgement...Shocking.

4:33 Sudha Ramalingam: Living a normal life does not mean succumbing to a rapist. In all woman is seen to get status only by being married and that too upholding her chastity by submitting herself to the aggressor / rapist

4:33 Comment From S. Ganesan: There should not be a mediation for the rapist and he should not be gien bail.

4:33 V. Sirnate: There is no doubt that it was rape in this case becuase the survivor-victim was a minor when the act happened. That is statutory rape.

4:33 Comment From Srinivasan Selvaraj: Even if both parties are agreeing, the court should ask the convict to deposit a decent sum of money in the name of the victim or her kid. Because the convict may turn hostile anytime in future.

4:33 Ramya Kannan: at 15 years, there is no consensual sex.

4:33 V. Sirnate: How is mediation in a rape case a "practical solution"?

4:33 Ramya Kannan: As per law. Isnt that right, Sudha?

4:34 Comment From asr murthy: @sudha Ramalingam.. Once the complain is lodged and FIR registered, the complainant has no role except as a prosecution witness.The State handles the case against the criminal and if the complainant back out , then the complainant too can be put on trial.

4:35 Sudha Ramalingam: the notion that life is destroyed after rape is patriarchal. The survivor - victim has a life beyond rape. She is not doomed.... please understand that she can and will lead a normal life... we ought to help her towards it... it is this feeling of helplessness and the feeling that she has no future which justifies marriage with rapist

4:36 Sudha Ramalingam: *once the complaint is .......

4:36 Comment From Venkat: So this is not rape as rape is commonly understood but more of consensual act with a minor which the law considers rape.?

4:37 Comment From Srinivasan Selvaraj: The judge might want to find a out of box solution in an novel attempt. I dont find any fault with his intentions and attitude.

4:37 Sudha Ramalingam: Every accused will use consent as a defense for his crime.... the trial court has found him guilty and anyhow when the victim was below 15 there is no question of consent

4:37 V. Sirnate: @selvaraj.. the judge has to practice the law.. he is not doing so. he is acting beyond his brief.

4:37 Comment From Venkat: Rape is a heinous sin and the perpetrator no doubt should be penalized is one side as one goes by retributive justice.The Victim still needs to carry on with her life and sustenance. In a society like India where the institution of marriage hinges on sanctity of the woman the courts have given due consideration and suggested in the interests of victim,

4:38 Dennis S. Jesudasan The judge can think out of the box as long as it remains within the framework of Indian law

4:38 Comment From Guest: Not out of box, it is out of sense

4:38 Comment From The Hindu daily reader: Mediation is not the solution because rapists are sick people in mental capacity. Rape is a crime sprouted because of psychological disorders and it is required to be fixed at that area critically, in our country every second child is abused in their childhood according to satyamev jayate tv series and child abuse is very much prevalent in poor people, in poors almost every child is abused. Also violence, domestic violence or other traumas can be the reason so that sick person must be taken to mental hospital and not to let him roam freely and to let him do another heinous crimes. Thank you The Hindu for giving us voice.

4:38 V. Sirnate: @Venkat Well then Indian society needs to stop thinking that the only ambition for a woman is marriage, that the only way she can be seen as respectable is through marriage.

4:38 Comment From Vivek: mediation of this sort is commodification of women.... Legal sanctity to crimes against women which will ultimately sort out under social, family and accused pressure.

4:39 Comment From Guest: Ok. So the victim has gone on record saying she hates the guy and cannot imagine living with him. Given this fact, getting the two together will be a great tragedy in itself.

4:39 V. Sirnate: @Venkat what is the "sanctity of a woman".

4:39 Sudha Ramalingam: child abuse is not confined among the 'poor' it is prevalent among all sections of society

4:40 Comment From Chandu: Education is the key to prevent rapes

4:40 V. Sirnate: But educated men also commit rape

4:41 Comment From Ram: This is such a case by case issue. Not all cases can be put in one pile and not all circumstances are cruel and beastly. I'm not justifying crime but the judge would have access to complete information about this particular case and in cognisance of the prevailing circumstances has suggested a mediation. If this resolves the issue for the girl involved satisfactorily, why does it have to spark outrage? It deosnt mean all rapes from now on need to watered down based on this one judgement.

4:41 Comment From Shubham: Rape is the crime which destroys a women completely, how can meditation help her.???

4:41 Sudha Ramalingam: Education and not literacy..... what is now given in educational institutions is imparting literacy and not value education

4:41 Comment From Sriram: Do you see this as part of a trend? Our constitution, basic principles of due process, precedent, democratic free society...these were borrowed from the British (and the Irish, the French, the Americans), but these were "imposed" on our society from above (for good reason of course). But are you seeing a trend across the board where these are being questioned as not Indian culture, and older, superstition based beliefs are gaining ground?

4:41 Comment From Guest: Many cases police & Law are suggesting to settle on mutual grounds in such complaints related to Women/rape incidenets,child abuse instead of justice .

4:41 Comment From Kavitha Muralidharan: Yeah educated men also commit rape.. I wonder if it has got anything to do with education...

4:42 Comment From Dennis S. Jesudasan: The Courts' judgements should differentiate themselves from the khap panchayats. Courts are not panchayats but a well defined institutions to resolve disputes with the help of a framed law

4:42 V. Sirnate: The key to prevent rape is to generate consequences for the perpetrators.

1. Forensic evidence collection needs to get better.

2. Social stigmas around rape need to go so women are enabled to report it.

3. We need rape crisis centres.

4. We need actual convictions to happen.

5. We need to recognize marital rape.

6. We need to put sex offenders in a sex offender registry, which will affect the places they can live and the jobs they can get.

4:42 Comment From Venkat: This "rape" seems more of legal definition. This may not have hit the court systems if there was no pregnancy/child. We have a bigger question in front of us. In a society where pre-marital sex is becoming a common occurrence (thought many of us still cannot accept) what is this age definition. Shouldn't the NO be the only way to determine whether it was rape or not?

4:42 Comment From Chandu: Correct Sudha. Education which teaches respect towards women

4:42 Comment From Guest: It may give a perpetuation of tendency to rape or sexual harassment. As Instead of getting any punishment, culprit/ offender only have to mediate with the victim.

4:42 Sudha Ramalingam: right Kavitha. it is not as if educated do not commit crime ie why I say that there should be value educaiton

4:43 Comment From Kavitha Muralidharan: This is not the first time either. REmember the judge who said women are equally responsible for the crimes committed against them?

4:43 Ramya Kannan: yes, @Kavitha. Education does not necessarily mean sensitivity, unfortunately.

4:43 Comment From Anilkumar: Can Serious punishment deter the rape ?

4:43 V. Sirnate: Only if we generate lasting consequences for all types of sex offenders is this problem going to reduce.

4:43 Comment From shaman: mediation is not the solution.punishment is the final call of the country

4:43 Comment From KKK: rape is considered as "living death" for the victim...there cannot be any dilution in punishment less than rigorous life imprisonment.

4:43 Comment From Premkumar: Criminal justice provides for compoundable offences. In order to include Rape under the specific provision in IPC we require an amendment. Further, in future, a boy or a girl should not resort to using Rape as a tool for forced marriages based on the victims helplessness.Given the situation the victim willfully agrees to marry the offender, the court should set a sufficiently long period of probation for the offender to prove his genuine contriteness and natural affection for the victim.

4:44 Comment From Srinivasan Selvaraj: Yes, the rapists should be punished. It should be more stringent than what is now. At the same time, please please think about the compensation for the victim too. One or Two lakh is not sufficient. Compensation should be also on the higher side. This coin has two sides.

4:44 Comment From Guest: A crime is a crime even if the victim agrees also the culprit should get the punishment ,if we allow mediation here then why not in any other crimes like murder and all .

4:44 Comment From Mahtab: we dont have an education system which may cover morality and ethics.

4:44 Comment From Kavitha Muralidharan: Certainly not in India @Ramya, @Sudha.

4:44 Sudha Ramalingam: V. Sirnate your 6 points are valid. but they do not in fact prevent the crime.

4:44 Comment From Kavitha Muralidharan: Living death was exactly what Sushma Swaraj said about Nirbhaya no? Cant a rape survivor live after the incident?

4:44 V. Sirnate: Yes they won't be an absolute prevention, but they will scare enough future rapists to not do so.

4:44 Comment From Vivek: I remember some leader from one Latin American country in some sense glorifying a child victim of sexual abuse for her courage in having a baby... I am afraid we are in some way, we are diluting the gravity of crime here.

4:44 Comment From Vivek: I remember some leader from one Latin American country in some sense glorifying a child victim of sexual abuse for her courage in having a baby... I am afraid we are in some way, we are diluting the gravity of crime here.

4:46 Comment From Venkat: Question to some legal experts.. We have girls being married as soon as they hit puberty - it is not illegal. So as per the current understanding will the girl charge rape against the husband ? We do not have marital rape laws in India (recall a UP judgement which said that wife cannot deny sex to husband)

4:46 Dennis S. Jesudasan: I think we need to have a set of rules which make it clear which all cases can be referred to mediation. That way, the judiciary can save embarrassments like these

4:46 V. Sirnate: Women in India live in a state of siege which we see as so normal. This has to stop and I'm open to policy suggestions.

4:46 Comment From Kavitha Muralidharan: and live with dignity? it is these stereotypes that we need to fight against.

4:46 Comment From Ram: Hanging / Killing / Shooting all rapists will not change anything. Attitudes need to change, if violence is seen as part of any solution, that's where you start going wrong. Just enforcement of law is on one side, addressing the mindset and conditions that create these beings is the need of the hour.

4:46 Comment From shaman: kavitha muralidharan.she can live but without justice??is that fair enough??our constitution provides for equal preotection of law..then injustice??no way

4:46 Comment From Guest: Punishment must be given & the judgement must be given in a defined period of time. this type of cases should be given as one of the highest priority & must be a non-bailable offence. No matter what the circumstances of the culprit, he must not be freed. Also under 18 years should not be a constraint for this case, as we all the know the upcoming generation is much knowledgeable to understand what is what/ So no more under 18 drama

4:46 Sudha Ramalingam: today a judge was telling " Who asked you to give birth to a child. being a mother you should be ashamed to break the marriage....."

4:47 Comment From Kavitha Muralidharan: Justice is different from living death

4:47 Dennis S. Jesudasan: It is unfortunate that these words were uttered by a judge!!!

4:47 Comment From Vivek: After nirbhaya case, there was a proposal, in thee same month, of having an open database of rapist.... Nothing found on that issue till date?? Any one any idea about that??

4:47 V. Sirnate: How awful that a judge could say this.

4:47 Comment From Kavitha Muralidharan: why victimise the woman for no crime of hers?

4:47 Comment From Kavitha Muralidharan: OMG Sudha? Really?

4:48 Comment From Rajesh: No matter whatever best law is in place to punish or help is offered to victims , we indians find a way to abuse it. General solution is impossible.

4:48 Sudha Ramalingam: Please do not encourage the terms "rape is living death for women ... " etc. It is high time we say it is heinous because it violates one's privacy and painful... a grievous hurt.... it ought not to be allowed to leave any permanent scar of the survivor - victim

4:48 Ramya Kannan: How terrible, a judge to say something like this! Some good education does, then!

4:49 Comment From Grace: Coming up with stringent punishment for rape and abuse cases is the need of the hour

4:49 V. Sirnate: What is possible is that men learn enough to leave women alone. A man is not entitled to the body of the woman. We need to break this entitlement that men feel.

4:49 Comment From Anoop: @kavitha: Education not neccesserly mean your textbook one but morals &thought.Serious punishment can deter this I believe.Mediation not a solution at all.Lets change ourselves rather than this long chat..!!@

4:50 Comment From Guest: Even if this is a case of statuary rape and IF the intercourse was consensual, and even IF the victim agrees to such a mutually acceptable solution of marriage (which in this case looks unlikely), the question that remains is- can a person who cannot even give consent for sexual intercourse be allowed to accept a "mutually conciliatory" solution of marriage with the accused? Does this not go against the very spirit of the laws of our country?

4:50 Comment From Guest: The society must encourage the victim in all the aspect of her life to ensure a smooth living. Instead of looking at her as such she has commited crime

4:50 V. Sirnate: Consent is the key. As a society we understand it when a man says "NO", but a woman's "NO" is not taken as seriously. A man can say no to a cup of tea and we take it seriously. A woman says no to a sexual crime and Indian society says "she wanted it".

4:50 Comment From Mahadevan: What this judgement reflects is the patriarchal mindset of Indian society. The trauma that she feels whe she has to go through with this order seems to be overlooked..

4:50 Comment From Guest: Families are the most effective in imparting the education, and unfortunately it is breaking down. This one of the many reasons... It has to be dealt multi-pronged. no quick-fix, like the one judge proposed.

4:50 Comment From Guest: for woman life is not at end after rape. it is patriarchal thinking who frames "the woman " as poor (aka bechari). It is moral duty of society to develop such an environment in which 'The woman' can feel it was not her fault.

4:51 Comment From Ram: Rape should not be attached with social stigma and not seen as end of life. This is regressive. Rape victims MUST be supported and counselled by society and help them regain normal life. Its no impossible, just the constant lapping up of shame around it must go.

4:51 V. Sirnate: families in India are amongst the biggest abusive institutions (physical, emotional and sexual)

4:51 Ramya Kannan: ^The comment about the family is SO relevant. Because grooming has every thing to do with how you look at a man or a woman.

4:51 Sudha Ramalingam: We need to break this entitlement that men feel that is the crux of it

4:52 Comment From Sheetansh: "Mediation" for rape cases in a country which lacks respect for women is synonymous to unjustice. What kind of message is the judicial system sending to the people of this country?

If this is how judicial system is planning to deliver justice then what happens in Nagaland will be replicated throughout the country. Such verdicts shakes the faith of common people on judicial system.

4:52 V. Sirnate: The structure of the family and what it teaches it boys and girls needs to change. You can't have a girl being told not to go out of the house, while the brother doesnt have to answer.

4:52 Comment From Vivek: Question thus it becomes: do we want eliminate rape from our society or let's legalise a marriage which starts with and perpetually remain a rape for women

4:53 Dennis S. Jesudasan: though a lot is said about the family's role in grooming its members, there are instances when the man or a woman has to think and decide on their own. Family grooming can only complement the character of the person

4:53 V. Sirnate: Yes, rapists come from every social, religious and class group across the world.

4:54 Comment From Guest: Srinate, what about the young man who grows up on the streets without parents? How do we shape him?

4:54 Comment From KKK: sensitising the people...educating the children right from young age probably having a curriculum on this subject from school level may help to a large extent

4:54 Comment From Guest: More than the crime(rape) that the victim experienced, its the social stigma attached to the crime(rape) is what the victim suffers. We the society has to change that stigma and let her feel that she has done nothing wrong and is good as any other person in the society.

4:55 Comment From The Hindu daily reader: you are 100% correct.. families and whole world is responsible for that.. we all are actually..

4:55 V. Sirnate: There is no study that suggests that people who grow up without families are more or less likely to be sex offenders. Sometimes families are so dysfunctional that kids grow up twisted. A street kid is equally likely as a kid from a good home to be a sex offender. This is not about family my friends. this is about how men think about women. Some of the most rich and liberal men have the weirdest views on women. Think Tim Hunt, and Jeb Bush recently. I'm not even going to refer to Indian politicians, or I'll monopolize the whole discussion.

4:56 Comment From Vivek: Yes consent should be the key. And misogyny, thinking women deserve to be treated in debilitating ways on account of their gender, is the basis of hate based crime. And why only sexual offences... Labour participation, political represent ion we find misogyny everywhere

4:56 V. Sirnate: correction: this is not about family ALONE, but about how men think about women.

4:56 Comment From Mahadevan: Precisely. When a rape happens many blame it on the women. This needs to change first. Its not a fault that some fool cant handle himself around a woman.

4:57 Sudha Ramalingam: Most rapes happen within family and friends... they go unreported for various reasons. The few which come to light are also handled very badly and end in acquittal, and now even the case where there was conviction is handled with concern for the rapist in the guise of protecting the interest of the victim and the child

4:57 V. Sirnate: A rapist is not a fool. Rape is rarely a crime of passion. A sex offender picks his victims carefully. Each offender has his own pattern

4:58 V. Sirnate: So let's not let the rapist be called a fool and minimize a premeditated crime.

4:58 Comment From CJ: Yes I second Sirnate's comment.. It's all about individuals' perception and attitude ..

4:59 Comment From sailaja kollabathula: More than education it is family/parents who are responsible for brining up their kids in giving value to relations and moral values above all to respect women.

4:59 Ramya Kannan: Well, let's not look at the family, microscopically, as an individual unit. LEt's look at it as the basic societal unit. Then we may not ask what happens if a rapist does not have a family. There is no category of humans who are primarily rapists, it's people who think that a woman is a commodity they have rights over

5:00 Sudha Ramalingam: V. Sirnate you are right when you say that a rapist is not a fool. but rape also happens due to passion..... please try to also look at criminalizing late teens indulging in sex ... this could be called mandatory rape.... there is a need to re-look at the IPC now after the age of consent being raised to 18

5:02 Comment From SN: What makes me sad and angry is that though throughout the country, common people understood the brutality of rape because of Nirbhaya, a law was passed and yet those who should enforce the law don't think much of it. She died in vain :(

5:02 Comment From shriram: In addition to feeling of entitlement among men and consent of women, we also need to consider skewed sex ratio, which causes shortage of lawful life partner and may harbor deviant thinking and action. Second point is incessant bombardment via popular media - newspaper, TV, movie, internet, etc - of sensual or sexual content. It keeps the eager mind tuned to only one thing.

5:02 The Hindu: We will be closing the live chat now. Thank you all for participating. Follow us on Twitter ( > @the_hindu) and on Facebook ( > The Hindu). Log on to > for the latest headlines, news and commentary.

5:03 V. Sirnate: Let us please stop making excuses for rapists. Seeing rape as an expression of a man's sexual anxiety is an excuse for criminal behaviour.

5:04 V. Sirnate: Thank you for this opportunity. I found many supportive and thoughtful people on this forum and it gives me hope that survivors of sexual assault have some hope in this country. We need to keep changing things in our society and keep resisting structures that oppress people. Patriarchy is one such tstructure. Thank you all.

5:04 The Hindu: Thank you, Vasundhara Sirnate, Sudha Ramalingam, Ramya Kannan and Dennis S. Jesudasan for participating in the chat.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Related Topics Specials Live Chat National
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 3:48:44 PM |

Next Story