Court Orders Man To Get Rakhi Tied By Woman He Molested

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Tying rakhi
Image courtesy: rakhi.in
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The Madhya Pradesh High Court has laid down a bizarre condition for granting bail to a 26-year old man accused of molesting a woman. He must get a rakhi tied by the woman on the day of Raksha Bandhan.

The accused, Vikram Bagri, is accused of having entered the 30-year-old woman’s house in Ujjain on the 20th of April. He was charged under section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the IPC.

The Court Has Granted Conditional Bail To The Accused  

Bagri has been directed by the court to also give Rs 11,000 to the woman. This will be made as a part of the customary gift offering usually made by brothers to sisters on the occasion.

A single-judge bench of Justice Rohit Arya passed the court order.

The bench said in the court order, “The applicant, along with his wife shall visit the house of the complainant with rakhi thread on August 3, 2020, at 11 AM with a box of sweets and request the complainant to tie the rakhi band to him with the promise to protect her to the best of his ability for all times to come.”

The court also directed the accused to give Rs 5,000 to the woman’s son to buy clothes and sweets.

Enforced “Rakhi” Siblinghood Is Not The Answer To Sexual Violence

The traditional protection that the rakhi represents cannot substitute the proper judicial protection and justice victims need.

The idea of asking a victim to tie a rakhi to his/her molester is preposterous and absurd. The rakhi is a traditional symbol of familial love, trust, and support, but at the end of the day, it is just that – a symbol. It is not a guarantee or a solution to the situation.

Moreover, the chances of a victim wanting to engage in a celebratory ritual that symbolises these things, with their attacker (or engage with them at all) are… we’d say somewhere in the range of unbelievably low to non-existent.

The logic behind the ruling is rooted in socially appropriate norms and traditions of how a brother should ideally perceive his sister, i.e. without any sexual or violent intent, and with a desire to protect her.

Socially appropriate norms and traditions, however, probably hold very little value for somebody engaging in a non-consensual sexual act in the first place. If the ethics of marriage or consent didn’t stop the molester, it’s doubtful that a piece of ritualistic thread will in the future.

Making people “muh bole” bhai and behen is a warped attempt to get rid of sexual desire altogether. The damages of sexual violence do not lie in the desire itself, but in expressions of that desire through violence, lack of consent, and gendered entitlements and ideas of power.

The judiciary decision to grant bail to the accused on the condition that he make that one woman his “rakhi” sister, is not only an unsatisfactory solution to a pervasively damaging problem, but also sets a bad precedent.

This Raksha Bandhan, let us celebrate the mutual support and protection the rakhi represents between brothers and sisters, and speak up against a lack of institutional support and protection for all those who need it.

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Sanjana writes far too little to call herself a writer and reads far too much pop-culture fiction to call herself a reader. She once received a Special Mention for the Best Young Critic Award by MAMI, and refuses to stop talking about it. Her love for films, art, and theatre runs deep and is only borderline pretentious. She detests writing in third person but can be convinced to engage in it occasionally.

1 COMMENT

  1. I mean, this is far too better. The minute I read this I got reminded of another such incident couple of years back in Tamilnadu, where the Judge let the rapist out of jail only to ‘mediate’ things with the victim and if possible get married to her as she got impregnated because of the incident.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/why-an-indian-judge-thinks-rapists-should-marry-their-victims/2015/07/08/606f8998-23e5-11e5-b621-b55e495e9b78_story.html

    It is definitely saddening to come across such brutal truths that don’t hold good in any way. I mean do these judges even clear law exams or do they just become judges because they are true Bhakts of Gandhiji’s principals of truth and non-violence. Truth of the verdict which is weirdly brutal and non violence which only the women raped need to adhere to. Why can’t someone nominate him to the Noble Peace Prize for this year?

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