Lawyers representation in Madras HC against Mediation order in Rape case
A representation filed by a group of lawyers following the controversial decision by Justice P. Devadass ordering mediation in a rape case involving a minor victim, compelling the Madras High Court to recall the case from mediation.
Sriram Panchu, Geeta Ramaseshan, N.L. Rajah and A.J. Jawad who filed the representation described the order as "highly inappropriate" and observed that "In doing so, the referral reinforces patriarchal norms and stereotypes such as once a child is born [out of rape], the woman who is subjected to the violence must marry the perpetrator.”
The representation made before Chief Justice of Madras High Court pointed out that the order did not consider the basic principles of mediation that parties must be willing to come to the process. Such observations if made by a Judge will "“undermine the mediation process and the principle of appropriateness for reference”.
Meanwhile the same Judge who ordered mediation in a rape case has upheld the conviction of a 25 year old man who was awarded a 10 year sentence by the local court for raping a minor girl living next door.
Speaking to The Hindu, Visalakshi Nedunchezhian, Chairperson, Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women opined that “mediation was a good move”, but she added that the order was “odd” and the convict needed to be in jail.
Earlier also lawyers had expressed their concern through another representation filed before the same court in which it was said that "“As lawyers of the Madras High Court and mediators in the Centre, we are deeply disturbed by the reference and believe that besides violating the rights of victims and survivors, it will create a wrong impression of the mediation process.” It also expressed the need for a set of guidelines to be formulated to differentiate between cases that could be referred for talks and those that could not.