Madras HC recalls ‘compromise’ verdict in rape case, cancels bail to convict

CHENNAI: The Madras high court, which outraged women rights groups last month by granting bail to a rape convict and asking the victim and offender to try out a ‘compromise’ by mediation, has recalled the order and cancelled an interim bail given to the rape convict, V Mohan.

The court has stopped the mediation preparations, and asked the convict to surrender on July 13.

Justice P Devadass passed the order on Friday in view of the Supreme Court order dated July 1 in the state of Madhya Pradesh vs Madanlal case wherein it had held that mediation and compromise should not be an option in rape cases.

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On June 18, Justice Devadass, hearing a criminal appeal by Mohan, highlighted the plight of the rape-victim’s child and said the girl child was a bigger victim than the teen-mother. The victim was raped in 2008 by Mohan, her neighbour, when she was just 15 years old. She gave birth to a child the next year.

The judgment triggered debate and widespread condemnation. The July 1 judgment of the Supreme Court was then seen as a message to Madras high court as well.

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In the meanwhile, as directed by Justice Devadass, the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority had sent intimation to the victim woman, asking her to attend ‘mediation’ on July 13. This, despite a representation from mediation experts who wanted the order recalled on the ground that such offences were beyond the scope of mediation frame work.

On Friday, however, Justice Devadass issued the fresh order cancelling the bail to Mohan and ordering his surrender before the mahila court in Cuddalore on or before July 13, thievery day fixed earlier for ‘mediation’.

“This court by its order dated June 18, directed the parties to go for mediation. In view of the judgment of the Supreme Court in state of Madhya Pradesh vs Madanlal, dated July 1, the said order of this court directing the parties to go for mediation is recalled. Consequently, the interim bail granted to Mohan is cancelled. The officer-in-charge, mediation centre attached to this court shall stop the parties from attending the mediation. Registrar (judicial) of this court shall ensure compliance of this order,” the judge said in his order.

Noting that Moham shall surrender before the mahila court in Cuddalore on July 13, the judge said in default the trial court shall issue warrant to secure the petitioner/accused and commit him to the Central Prison at Cuddalore.

By an order dated July 22, 2014, the Cuddalore mahila court found Mohan guilty of rape and sentenced him to undergo imprisonment for seven years, besides pay Rs 2 lakh as fine. It was while admitting his appeal versus the conviction that Justice Devadass ordered mediated settlement to the issue.

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