A controversial statement made by Justice Krishna S Dixit, of Karnataka High Court has caused a lot of uproar among the activists, rights groups and the women advocates. In a hearing for a rape case, held on 24th June, Justice Krishna, while granting bail to the accused said, “the explanation offered by the complainant that after the perpetration of the act she was tired and fell asleep, is unbecoming of an Indian woman; that is not the way our women react when they are ravished”.
His observation, which reeked of misogyny, was not missed by many and was later faced with a lot of backlash. Advocate Aparna Bhatt wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India S. A. Bobde and women Judges of the top Court. In her letter, she expressed her shock at the manner in which a High Court Judge has trivialized the heinous crime, while granting anticipatory bail of the accused in a case of rape.
“Is there a protocol for rape victims to follow post the incident which is written in the law that I am not aware? Are ‘Indian women’ an exclusive class who have unmatched standards post being violated? Who are ‘our women’?” she asked in her letter.
While urging the top court judges to intervene in the matter, she asked them to issue an advisory to all the High Courts and the subordinate courts in the country, to refrain from commenting on the conduct of victims. “Exercise restraint to ensure that their judgements do not reflect stereotypical notions that one may nurse about women, shun misogyny and strive towards enhancing the dignity of women while preserving the sanctity of the judiciary”.
A letter has also been written to Justice Krishna S. Dixit by activists and right groups, criticizing his remarks on the rape case. “We do not accept that guardians of law and order and the Constitution become guardians of women’s morality and behaviour, claiming us as ‘our women’ violating our own fundamental right to choose and express our emotion, thoughts, anxieties, fear, opinions in our own way and of our volition. We will not accept that we are told time and again that ‘we ask for it’ every time we choose to protest the violation of our bodies and our persona. We do not accept victim blaming and victim shaming when we are ‘punished’ for ‘unlady-like’ behavior like socializing with men, being out late and night or drinking alcohol. And we cannot accept that when judicial officers abandon their role as judges with constitutional obligation and responsibilities but instead express opinion that justify the worst of patriarchal norms and practices”.
“We call upon you to expunge these toxic and misogynistic statements from the order and deliver one that is based on law and not on prejudice. We call upon you to prove that the judiciary infact does stand by the women and all concerned citizens of India in their struggle to build a more equitable, just and democratic society that shows zero tolerance violence against women and all marginalized genders”, the letter concluded.