Monday, November 28, 2005

The Supreme Court of India vilifies rape victims - II

In an earlier post, I had expressed my horror at the Indian Supreme Court's bizarre statement for the justification of a life sentence upon a father who was convicted of having raped his daughter. The bizarreness of the statement stemmed from the blatantly dehumanizing attitude of the Supreme Court towards rape victims. As I said in my post, the ruling clarifies the Supreme Court's view towards rape victims as being the following :

1.> Rape destroys the soul of a woman.
2.> Rape jeopardizes a woman's chances of marriage.
3.> Rape carries with it an "indelible" social stigma and "deathless" shame upon the victim.
4.> Rape turns a woman into damaged goods.
Pretty strangely worded material for something that issued out of the highest court in the country. And now, it turns out that the convicted man had been falsely accused of rape by his daughter, who had been bullied into it by her mother, whose relationship with the man had been somewhat strained, to say the least. This adds an entirely new perspective to the case. If you scrutinize the Supreme Court's statement some more, this is what you'll notice:

The court said, “no girl of self respect and dignity who is conscious of her chastity and having expectations of married life and livelihood would accuse falsely against any person of rape, much less against her father, sacrificing thereby her chastity and also expose the entire family to shame and at risk of condemnation and ostracisation by the society”.
Before, the Supreme Court's statement merely showcased the amazingly quaint and backward attitude it held towards rape victims. Now, with this new evidence that has seen the light of day, it appears that this attitude of the court might even threaten to jeopardize the objectivity of its judgement while administering justice. Note the basis of the Court's supreme confidence in the father's guilt. It was persuaded not by any additional evidence that proved that the rape had been committed, but by the Court's blighted mentality wherein it believed that the daughter would not have made a false accusation because of the detrimental effect her accusation would have on her own life.

In other words, the Supreme Court ruled with it's heart and not with it's head. Its treatment of rape as a life-ending occurrence clouded it's judgement and caused an innocent person to be convicted of a serious charge.

This is a matter of amazing gravity, much more serious than merely being the issue of the highest court in the land having a chauvinistic attitude towards rape. It brings into question the mental stability of Supreme court judges and their ability to sift through available evidence objectively and make an educated decision without falling a prey to their own prehistoric belief structure.

It raises fundamental questions about the selection of Supreme Court judges, their backgrounds and qualifications and the lack of interest in the process in India, as compared to the US, where it is considered to be a matter of paramount significance and of vital public interest.

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