Role of Alternate Dispute Resolution mechanism in cases of rape with minors in India, discussed

Madras High Court: Dealing with rationality of incorporating Alternate Dispute Resolution mechanism in cases of rape done on minors under Section 376 of the IPC, the single judge bench of P. Devadass, J. stressed on the need to enhance the role of mediation processes in criminal justice system in order to have an alternative to the time consuming expensive conventional court system. He targeted the hypocrisy that prevails in India where on one hand women are considered to be the epitome of virtue and family respect, while on the other hand they are condemned and accused when such incidents of rape happen. He rightly pointed out that women are also human beings who have the right to live with dignity as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution.

In the given case, the accused was alleged to have raped a girl of 17 years who became pregnant and gave birth to a female child. In the petition filed, the accused pleaded for the suspension of his sentence of imprisonment. It was held that the matter would be forwarded to the Mediation center as this is a fit case for attempting compromise between the parties. In addition, the Sessions judge of Mahila Court was directed to deposit Rs. 1 lakh taken from the accused in the bank in the name of the petitioner.  It was also directed that a compromise should be made in the form of an MOU and in case of any violation of spirit of this order; the petitioner was allowed to move to the court for the cancellation of the interim bail appeal. Counsels C. Arunkumar and P. Govindarajan represented the appellant and the respondents respectively.  

The rationale given by the learned judge was that in such cases the victim is not only the minor girl but also her child who is a victim of circumstances. He cited various similar cases where the Court kept human sentiments and elements into consideration while giving judgments, where not only the accused married the victim, but it also resulted in securing the future of the victim as well as that of the child. He made sure that the spirit of the judgment lives by ensuring that at the end of the mediation procedure the parenthood of the girl child would be decided and the petitioner would get the monthly interest of the money deposited in the bank account for her, thus securing the future of both the minor and her child. V. Mohan v. The Inspector of Police, 2015 SCC OnLine Mad 3578, decided on 18.06.2015

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