The outrage against the controversial order of Justice P. Devadass of the >Madras High Court ordering mediation in a rape case has put the judiciary under pressure to recall the case from mediation.
A representation made to the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court by Sriram Panchu, Geeta Ramaseshan, N.L. Rajah and A.J. Jawad, lawyers, said the observations made by the judge “undermine the mediation process and the principle of appropriateness for reference”.
However on Wednesday, Justice P. Devadass upheld the 10-year sentence awarded to a 25-year-old man convicted by a local court for raping a four-and-a-half-year-old girl, who lived next door in Erode.
Observing that rape was sexual violence and sending such a case for mediation was “highly inappropriate”, the representation said: “In doing so, the referral reinforces patriarchal norms and stereotypes such as once a child is born [out of rape], the woman who is subjected to the violence must marry the perpetrator.”
The order did not consider the basic principle of mediation that both parties must be willing to come to the process, it said.
Visalakshi Nedunchezhian, Chairperson, Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women, told The Hindu that she thought “mediation was a good move”, but followed it up with a clause that the order was “odd” and the convict needed to be in jail.
Women’s panel chief says mediation ‘good’, but order ‘odd’
Commenting on a Madras High Court order in a rape case, the Chairperson of the Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women, Visalakshi Nedunchezhian, told The Hindu on Thursday that she thought “mediation was a good move”, but followed it up with a clause that the order was “odd” and the convict needed to be in jail.
Earlier, a representation by lawyers to the Chief Justice of the court said: “As lawyers of the Madras High Court and mediators in the Centre, we are deeply disturbed by the reference and believe that besides violating the rights of victims and survivors, it will create a wrong impression of the mediation process.”
The lawyers urged the framing of a set of guidelines that could differentiate between cases that could be referred for talks and those that could not.
Another representation by child rights activist A. Narayanan sent to the Chief Justice of India urged for comprehensive training for the higher judiciary on contemporary legislation for the rights of women, children, differently-abled and the marginalised sections.