Attorney General KK Venugopal on Monday, November 2, told the Supreme Court that "judges need to be educated on gender sensitisation".
The Attorney General made the comments during a hearing on the conditions of a bail imposed by the Madhya Pradesh High Court, where the court directed the accused in a sexual assault case to get a rakhi tied by the complainant.
"The suggestion is the exam for judges and national judicial academy and state judicial academy must have programmes on gender sensitisation," Venugopal said. "As far as the committee is concerned, a Supreme Court judgement should be put on the state information system which will go to subordinate courts."
Venugopal said that the High Court's order was "nothing but a drama" and that it must be condemned. "This is an opportunity for this court to impart gender sensitisation," he submitted.
The case is related to a plea filed by advocate Aparna Bhat and eight other women lawyers questioning the "trivialisation of sexual offences by courts in the country" in connection with the Madhya Pradesh High Court's July 30 order.
The Supreme Court has asked Venugopal and all those concerned in the case to submit written submissions regarding the steps that can be taken on the matter. The case is likely to be taken up on November 27.
Sanjay Parikh, representing the petitioners, said that the case was not limited to the MP High Court's order but also points at questions on such remarks made by other judges who objectify women who have been victims of sexual assault.
Parikh said that the petitioners have demanded a stay on the bail condition. However, the top court observed that the bail conditions have already been met.
"The Hon'ble High Court ought to have been cognizant and sensitive to the fact that in a case involving a sexual offence having been committed against a woman, it is immeasurably difficult for the survivor to lodge an FIR [first information report] and pursue a criminal case against the accused at the threshold," the plea said.
The plea also questioned whether, in a case of bail, it was appropriate for a court to impose "extraneous conditions" that permit contact between the accused and the complainant.
The plea further alleged that the HC's order asking the accused to visit the woman's residence would lead to the "victimisation of the survivor in her own house".