CHENNAI/CUDDALORE:Days after sparking a controversy with his judgment referring the rape case of a minor girl to mediation, Justice P Devadass of the Madras High Court recalled the order in view of the subsequent Supreme Court directive against liberal approach by courts while dealing sexual assault cases.
The convict in the case, A Mohan, who was awarded a seven-year prison term by a Mahila Court in Cuddalore, has been directed to surrender before that court on Monday — incidentally the day when the mediation was scheduled.
The order came on Friday, a day after Express carried a report highlighting that the mediation has been fixed for Monday morning in which the girl was asked to attend.
“It is good to hear that the order has been recalled. We request the government to help the victim and her daughter for their livelihood. It would be helpful if the government offers a job to the victim and deposit some amount in the name of her child,” said a close relative of the victim in Cuddalore.
Meanwhile, Mohan told Express that he had no comments to make at the moment, adding that he would consult his lawyer on the matter.
Recalling the recent order, the judge said, “The Officer-in-Charge, Mediation Centre attached to this Court shall stop the parties from attending the mediation. The Registrar (Judicial) of this Court shall ensure compliance of this order.”
Consequently, the interim bail granted to the accused was canceled by the court, directing him to surrender before the Mahila Court, Cuddalore, on July 13.
The row was triggered following an unusual interim direction by Justice Devadass, asking the young mother, who was raped when she was a minor, to go in for mediation with her rapist under Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) to explore if a compromise could be arrived at.
While hearing an appeal from the rapist, Mohan, challenging the conviction by the Mahila Court in Cuddalore in 2012, the court had granted him bail to facilitate the mediation. He was sentenced to seven years imprisonment and a fine of `2 lakh by the trial court in 2012.
However, just days after the controversial direction was made, the Supreme Court on July 8 held that it would be a “spectacular error” to adopt any kind of liberal approach in sexual assault cases. The apex court said this while hearing a petition related to an attempted rape case in Madhya Pradesh in 2008. Meanwhile, these developments have raised questions about the status of a similar order passed by Justice Devadass dated February 3, in Criminal Original Petition 1881 of 2015 (Samuvel vs. the Inspector of Police, All Women Police Station, Gummidipoondi, Thiruvallur district) wherein the accused was prosecuted under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. The judge had mentioned about the case in his recent order that kicked up the row. “It was reported to this court that IA Immanuel, advocate, Thiruvallur, has mediated the matter and ultimately, the accused had agreed to marry the victim girl. Now the said case is proceeding towards a happy conclusion,” he had said in the order.