While NCRB data shows that in India, 88 rapes were reported every day in 2019, judges have been making misogynistic statement justifying the reasons behind rape. Whether it was Ex-CJI Dipak Misra’s remarks on marital rape equating it with upholding family values or former Supreme Court judge Markanday Katju’s statement on the Hathras rape, it shows that misogyny and rape culture is deeply rooted in Indian society, no matter how “educated” you are.
— Markandey Katju (@mkatju) September 30, 2020
According to The Times Of India, on April 9, 2019 Ex-CJI Misra was speaking at a conference in Bengaluru where a student asked him that shouldn’t rape laws be gender neutral and marital rape be considered a crime? To which he replied, “Because some country has made marital rape an offence… I don’t think that marital rape should be regarded as an offence in India, because it will create absolute anarchy in families and our country is sustaining itself because of the family platform which upholds family values. We still respect the family background and many other facets.”
There have been several such instances where judges, former judges and ex-Chief Justice made such remarks about rape or rape victims. In another instance, on June 23, Karnataka High court judge, Justice Krishna S. Dixit said that the complainant in a rape case did not react like she was ‘ravished’. He observed that her explanation that “after the perpetration of the act she was tired and fell asleep, is unbecoming of an Indian woman”, granting bail to the accused, reported The Wire.
According to BBC, Aparna Bhat, a senior Delhi-based lawyer had to write an open letter to the chief justice of India and the three female judges of the Supreme Court in response to the ruling as it showed “misogyny at its worst”.
Another Washington Post report highlighted the shocking things Indian judges had said about rape. In June 2015, Madras High Court Judge P. Devadass let a convicted rapist out of prison on bail so he could “mediate” with his victim and heal their rift, citing the “happy conclusion” of another case in which a rapist agreed to marry his victim.
A Delhi judge Virender Bhat ruled in a case saying that there was a “very disturbing trend” of young women consenting to sex with their lovers and then claiming rape.
A retired judge from Kerala Judge R. Basant sparked a controversy in 2013 when he said child prostitution “is not rape.” He was caught on camera saying that he dismissed the case of 35 men who gang-raped a child sex worker in the 1990s using that logic.
There are several other news reports which highlight what an “ideal rape victim” should be like in the eyes of the judges.