CHENNAI: In an unusual decision, the Madras High Court has asked a young mother, who was raped when she was a minor, to go in for mediation with her rapist under the Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) to explore if a compromise could be arrived at.
To facilitate the mediation, the court has granted bail to the rapist, A Mohan, who was convicted by a Mahila Court in Cuddalore to undergo seven years imprisonment and fined Rs 2 lakh in July 2012.
Justice P Devadass gave the interim direction while hearing an appeal from Mohan challenging his conviction. According to the judge, he had earlier this year, referred for mediation a similar case, which “is proceeding towards a happy conclusion.”
In his interim order, Justice Devadass said that the court felt that this was a fit case for attempting compromise between the parties. He held that there was no bar to attempt at reconciliation even in a criminal appeal where the accused has been convicted for rape.
“In fact, even in Islam, Hinduism and Christianity, there are instances of solving the disputes in a non-belligerent manner,” he added.
In this case, the victim, an orphan, who was living with her adoptive mother, was raped and she delivered a child in July 2009. The judge said that there was a big question mark looming large before the girl as well as her child, who is completely innocent. “Generally, in this type of cases, the girl concerned is stated to be a victim. But really speaking, the child born out of such a physical contact is also a victim. The child is a victim of circumstances. She was born to suffer a social stigma for no fault of her. It is a great tragedy,” Devadass observed.
Referring the case for mediation, the judge granted interim bail to Mohan, stating, “In these circumstances, keeping the appellant inside the jail and asking him to participate in the mediation talk will not result in any fruitful result.”
If the convict and victim are able to arrive at a compromise, it should be “reduced into a form of a Memorandum of Understanding,” he held. The judge also directed Mohan to open a fixed deposit of Rs 1 lakh in the girl’s name, which he had already made.