SC quashes MP HC’s ‘rakhi for bail’ order, directs training modules for sensitisation of judges

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday (March 18) set aside an order passed by the Madhya Pradesh High Court which asked a man accused of sexual assault to get ‘rakhi’ tied by the victim in order to get bail.

The High Court order came in July last year, setting ‘Rakhi for bail’ as a condition to grant bail.

An SC bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar issued a slew of directions, which included training modules for sensitisation of judges. The apex court emphasised that judges should avoid any kind of stereotyping.

The plea against the HC order was filed by advocate Aparna Bhat and eight other women lawyers.

Attorney General (AG) K.K. Venugopal had also opposed the bail condition.

“The bail condition in question amounts to further victimisation of the survivor in her own house. In the context of ‘Raksha Bandhan’ being a festival of guardianship between brothers and sisters, the said bail condition amounts to gross trivialization of the trauma suffered by the complainant in the present case,” said the plea.

The petitioners had requested that the bail condition by the High Court be set aside.

Bhat had contended that there was a strong likelihood that such observations and directions by a constitutional court such as a High Court may result in normalising “what is essentially a crime and has been recognised to be so by the law.”

“It is highly objectionable for the High Court in the present case to put the complainant in a position where she is forced to accept the sum of Rs 11,000 as part of the customary ritual of Raksha Bandhan. Moreover, the said bail condition also goes a step further by stating that Respondent No. 2 (the accused) tender Rs 5,000 to the son the complainant,” the plea added.

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