NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday sought Attorney General K K Venugopal’s assistance in a plea filed by nine women lawyers to set aside a Madhya Pradesh High Court’s order of granting bail to an accused in a molestation case on the condition that he requests the complainant to tie him a ‘rakhi’.
A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar agreed to hold a detailed hearing in the matter after senior advocate Sanjay Parekh, representing the petitioners including advocate Aparna Bhatt, said the high court’s bail order had trivialised the offence of molestation.
On July 30, the Madhya Pradesh High Court had granted bail to the accused, with the condition that he and his wife shall visit the complainant’s house with a rakhi on August 3 and a box of sweets.
The court had also asked the accused to give Rs 11,000 to the complainant as a customary ritual, usually offered by the brothers to sisters on rakhi and also seek her blessings.
He was asked to further promise the complainant that he would “protect her to the best of his ability for all times to come”.
During a brief hearing, petitioners told the court that the high court’s order was a gross trivialisation of the trauma suffered by the complainant, and claimed that the extraordinary situation has pushed the women lawyers to approach the court and urged the bench to lay down guidelines for high courts and trial courts so that they are refrained from stipulating such bail conditions.
The bench has now slated the further hearing for November 2. “If social stigma and the vagaries of the criminal judicial system are not enough, the observations such as the one made in the present case by the high court will prove to further deter people from filing complaints,” submitted their petition.