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Only in India -

betal_nut - Sun, 16 Jan 2005 11:59:24 +0530

'Gender no bar, all judges can hear sexual offence cases'


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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea, which had sought the transfer of a sexual offence case being heard by a female judge to a male judge, rejecting the argument that a woman would find it "embarrassing" to hear such a case.

A Bench of Justices N Santosh Hegde and S B Sinha reversed a Madras High Court order and held that it was the duty of judges to hear and decide on cases of any type irrespective of their gender.

The judgment is a fallout of a criminal case registered by the Tamil Nadu police against five people, who were charged with procuring young men and women for making pornographic videos and selling them to adult websites.

When the question of examining the CDs came up before a woman judge of a Chennai trial court, the accused moved the high court saying the examination of the CDs would embarrass her. They sought the transfer of the case to a court presided over by a male judge. On March 18, 2004, the Madras HC accepted their plea and transferred the case to a male judge.

But a woman, who was a victim of the pornographic expose, challenged the HC order. Her counsel, Kavita Wadia, argued that women witnesses would be more comfortable in deposing against the accused before a female judge.