- “A woman has a choice to love or not to love a person. No one can force her to love somebody”
- It had alleged that a man used to threaten and eve-tease a girl and in July 2008, she set herself ablaze when her parents were not at home
To the Supreme Court’s question, here is an answer. The apex court says women have a choice to love or not love somebody but sadly, that is far from the truth. Women in India have regularly been stripped of their rights and choices, either in the very Supreme Court, in society, within the walls of the home or on the streets.
What made the Supreme Court ask this question on women’s choice?
A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra was hearing an appeal filed by a man who was sentenced to seven years in jail by the Himachal Pradesh High Court for allegedly teasing and compelling a 16-year-old girl to take the extreme step of committing suicide. "Why can't women live in peace in this country," the apex court said while reserving its verdict on the appeal.
Maintaining that no one can force a woman to love someone as she has her own independent choice, the bench, which also comprised Justices AM Khanwilkar and MM Shantanagoudar, said "a woman has a choice to love or not to love a person. No one can force her to love somebody. There is a concept of love and man has to accept it."
The bench told the man that as per her dying declaration, "you had created a situation which had compelled her to commit such act."
The man was initially acquitted by the trial court in July 2010 after which the state had approached the high court. According to the police, the girl's father had lodged an alleged kidnapping and rape case against the man in which he was subsequently acquitted.
It had alleged that the accused used to threaten and eve-tease the girl and in July 2008, she set herself ablaze when her parents were not at home. She was taken to a hospital where she died during treatment. This incident was reported in the PTI.
Yes, this unnamed girl was pushed to such an extent that she felt like taking her own life would guarantee her an escape from the accused’s relentless pursuit. We often say, women need to learn to say No and that No means No. Clearly, the message still remains on papers and in dialogues mouthed by Bollywood stars.
The girl must have said No and despite her refusal, the accused’s pursuit continued. The incident brings to mind what the one of the prime accused in the Nirbhaya case Mukesh Singh is heard saying in the documentary India’s Daughter: “If girls don’t stay within their boundaries, if they don’t wear appropriate clothes, then naturally there is attraction. This attraction makes men aggressive, prompting them to just do it.”
This girl, took her own life because the harassment was too much to bear. But what about the numerous acid attack victims. They said No and that is why they had their bodies and faces disfigured.
The Supreme Court must take into account that merely questioning such events will lead us nowhere. If the SC has understood what women go through each day and how so many women end up suiciding, the question they need to be asking will be to themselves.
Is the Indian justice and law so weak that women find it easier to commit suicide rather than seek recourse to law? The fact that 2008 was when the death occurred and the parents of the victim are still fighting a case, shows how justice is even meted out to women in the country.
So, honourable judges in the Supreme Court you are right, women have no choice in this country.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:45 PM IST