SC Guidelines for Bail in Sexual Assault Cases to Lower Courts

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What is the News?

The Supreme Court has set aside the “rakhi-for-bail” order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court. Further, the SC also issued guidelines to be followed by Courts while dealing with sexual assault cases.

What was the Rakhi for Bail order of the MP High Court?
  • In 2020, the Madhya Pradesh High Court Judge put forward a condition for bail of the accused.  The accused had outraged the modesty of a woman. The condition to be eligible for bail was to present himself before the victim so she may tie a “rakhi” on his wrist.

Guidelines to be followed by Courts while dealing with Sexual Assault Cases: The apex court issued seven directions to the lower courts. These directions need to be followed while dealing with bail petitions under cases of crimes against women. These guidelines are:

  1. Condition for Bail should not require or permit contact between the accused and the victim.
  2. Protection should be provided to the victim in case of any potential threat of harassment.
  3. The complainant should be provided Information of bail to the accused immediately. Copy of the bail order made should be delivered to him/her within two days.
  4. Bail conditions and orders should avoid reflecting stereotypical or patriarchal notions about women and their place in society.
  5. The courts while adjudicating cases involving gender-related crimes, should not suggest or encourage compromises between the victim and the accused to get married or mandate mediation.
  6. Sensitivity should be displayed at all times by judges. They should ensure that there is no traumatization of the victim during the proceedings.
  7. Judges especially should not use any words, spoken or written, that would undermine or shake the confidence of the survivor in the fairness or impartiality of the court.

Note: Besides these directions, the apex court also stated that the lower courts should desist from expressing any stereotype opinion such as women are physically weak, should be submissive and obedient, good women are sexually chaste, among others.

Source: The Hindu


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