A Madras High Court judge has invited criticism from the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) for allegedly stating that women were equally responsible for sexual crimes committed against them.
Justice N Kirubakaran is alleged to have remarked that the Delhi college girl, who was gang-raped on a moving bus around midnight last year, had chosen the wrong time to travel. The judge had reportedly made the mark while interacting with journalists after inaugurating a Fast Track Mahila Court in Ramanathapuram recently.
Expressing outrage over the remark attributed to the judge, the AIDWA national secretary and lawyer U Vasuki, has written to Justice Kirubakaran saying such comments would only lead to justification of the crime and go to the defence of the offenders. “Your observation indicates that there are fixed timings during which the women will not be raped or sexually abused. But the fact is that the girl children in various schools are molested and some are raped even during the day,” Vasuki said in her letter, a copy of which was circulated to the media on Friday.
There are instances where women at home are raped in daylight. It is a stark reality that sexual assault takes place anywhere anytime irrespective of the dress the victims wear, she added.
“There is no dress, no place, no age and no time, which is rape-resistant. As per the NCRB statistics for 2012, 98% of rapists are known to the victims. In Tamil Nadu, as per registered statistics for the year 2012, 737 women have been raped and in all the cases, the perpetrators are known to the victims,” the letter pointed out.
Vasuki said that usually when the public make such remarks, lawyers enlighten them that the Indian Penal Code as well as the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013 treat sexual crimes as crimes and do not make them conditional to whether or not women invited trouble.
“But when the criticism comes from a judge on the victims of sexual violence contrary to the constitutional guarantee and protection, we are at a loss for words,” the AIDWA secretary said.
Questioning the need for defining time for women alone, she asked, “How can we define right time and wrong time uniformly for all?”