In a country still struggling to deal with widespread violence against women, an Indian judge has touched off a firestorm by suggesting that a rape victim and her attacker heal their rift in the hope of a happy ending.
When Madras High Court Judge P. Devadass recently let a rapist out of jail on bail so he could “mediate” with his victim, it caused an uproar among legal scholars and women’s rights activists.
The move was deemed “retrograde,” “misogynistic” and simply bad jurisprudence. Lawyers who work in the courthouse’s mediation center wrote a letter to the chief justice, demanding that Devadass’s order be rescinded. India’s Supreme Court, weighing in on a different case, said last week that any compromise between a rape victim and a perpetrator would be a “spectacular error.”