Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fwd: Open letter to Chief justice of Delhi

From India News Network (INN)

 

New Delhi, February 26: An open petition has been submitted to the Chief Justice of Delhi with regard to the reduction in sentence awarded to a rape convict, Ashok Rai, by a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court. An Open Letter, submitted to Justice Shah, Chief Justice, Delhi High Court, was released at a Press Meet held today in Delhi. 

 

The Press meet to release the letter was addressed by Ms. Kirti Singh, (Supreme Court Advocate), Ms. Sudha Sundararaman,(AIDWA), Dr. Indu Agnihotri (CWDS), Ms. Jyotsna Chatterjee, (JWP),) Ms. Kalpana David, and Ms.Annie Raja, (NFIW). They pointed out that more than a 100 signatures of eminent people including leading academics, social activists, and women's organizations on the letter proved the extent of concern regarding the acquittal of Ashok Rai by the Court. Signatories included Prof. Vina Mazumdar, Prof. Romila Thapar, Prof. Upendra Baxi, Dr. Mohini Giri, (former Chairperson NCW), Prof.. Bina Aggarwal, Prof. Zoya Hasan  and representatives of leading national women's organizations like AIDWA, CWDS, GOS, JWP, NFIW, and YWCA.

 

Addressing the Press, spokespersons expressed concern at the grounds on which the rape convict's sentence has been reduced and at the precedent this would set. The signatories have requested that the Chief Justice of Delhi treat the open letter as a special petition for reviewing the judgement. If no action is taken, a Special Leave Petition would be filed in the Supreme Court on this issue within the stipulated period.

 

The Open letter, along with the names of the signatories, is enclosed for favour of publication.

 

 

OPEN LETTER TO THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE DELHI HIGH COURT

 

To,                                                                                                       Date : 26th Feb. 2009

 

The Honourable Chief Justice

Delhi High Court

New Delhi

 

Dear Justice Ajit Prakash Shah ji,

 

We, the undersigned express our shock and deep concern over the recent judgment of the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court in which the sentence of a convicted rapist was reduced to five and a half years – which was the term he had already served in prison – because he had appeared for and qualified in the IAS entrance examination.  The Court held that 'Rai has redeemed himself in jail (as) is evident from the fact that he took his civil service examinations and qualified for being appointed to the Indian Administrative Service. We are of the opinion that the sentence already suffered by him would meet the ends of justice.'

 

We would like to bring to your notice the facts of the case against Ashok Rai.  He was accused of raping a young woman student who later committed suicide.  The accused was convicted by the Trial Court of rape and abetment to suicide.  The High Court, however, refused to believe that the conduct of the accused had driven the young woman to commit suicide despite the fact that the young woman had left behind a suicide note squarely blaming the accused for her suicide.  The Court while upholding the conviction on the charge of rape, acquitted him of the charge of abetment to suicide.  While dismissing the charge of abetment, the Court observed that the woman victim had committed 'some participatory act'.  The Court, did however, take cognizance of the fact that the accused had induced the victim to engage in sexual intercourse with him by holding out the false promise of marrying her and that this constituted rape.

 

The reason given by the Court for reducing Rai's sentence is that he 'redeemed himself' by passing the IAS entrance examination.  We, the undersigned, wish to point out that   merely qualifying for the IAS cannot be a ground for reduction of sentence in a crime as heinous as rape.  This is clear from the fact that cases of rape have been known to be committed by 'qualified' as well as 'unqualified' persons.  The stated reason is in fact indicative of a class-bias towards educated persons.  The judgment also reveals a patriarchal bias as it undermines the seriousness of the offence of rape.  Rape is a violent assault that has its genesis in an assertion of power and is a violation of the personal integrity of women.  We, therefore, further feel that a person convicted of rape should under no circumstances be allowed to become an administrative officer in any field.  How can such a person be entrusted with ensuring the safety of women and the implementation of the laws of the land?  We re-iterate that passing of the examination cannot be construed as a 'Special Reason' for reduction of the minimum sentence for rape.

 

The judgment sets an extremely retrograde and wrong precedent.   We register our strong protest against it and urge upon you to review the judgment.

 

We are,

 

Yours sincerely,

 

  1. Dr. Vina Mazumdar, National Research Professor of Social Sciences, GOI

  2. Prof. Romila  Thapar, Professor Emeritus, JNU

  3. Dr. (Captain) Lakshmi Sehgal

  4. Prof. Zoya Hasan, Dept. of Political Science, JNU & Member, National Commission for Minorities

  5. Dr. Mary E. John, Director, Centre for Women's Development Studies

  6. Dr. Indu Agnihotri, Centre for Women's Development Studies

  7. Ms. Subhashini Ali, President, All India Democratic Women's Association

  8. Ms. Sudha Sundararaman, General Secretary, AIDWA

  9. Ms. Mohini Giri, Chairperson, Guild of Service

  10. Dr. Jyotsna Chatterji, Director, Joint Women's Programme

  11. Prof. Upendra Baxi, University of Warwick, UK & former Vice Chancellor, Delhi University.

  12. Prof. Muchkund Dubey, President, Council for Social Development, New Delhi

  13. Mr. Mukul Dube, Delhi, Freelance editor, writer, photographer

  14. Ms. Ela R. Bhatt, Founder, SEWA

  15. Ms. C.P. Sujaya, retired Additional Chief Secretary, Himachal  Pradesh.

  16. Ms. Nirmala Buch, IAS, Retired Secretary, Rural Development, Government of India.

  17. Ms. Sumi Krishna, Former President, Indian Association for Women's Studies

  18. Dr. Mohan Rao, Professor, Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, JNU

  19. Dr. Vasudha Dhagamwar, Hon. Advisor, MARG, Delhi & Chairperson PRAKRITI

  20. Ms. Kalyani Menon-Sen, Gurgaon

  21. Dr. Shakti Kak, Director, Indian School of Women's Studies and Development

  22. Ms. Jayashree Bora, Women's Legal Forum

  23. Ms. Kamla Bhasin, Advisor, Sangat.

  24. Dr. Charu Gupta, Fellow, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library

  25. Ms. Sunanda Rabindranathan, Consultant, Population Council

  26. Dr. Bijayalaxmi Nanda, Senior lecturer, Department of Political Science, Miranda House, Delhi University

  27. Dr. Saradamoni, formerly with Indian Statistical Institute

  28. Dr. S. Anandalakshmy, Advisor on Child Dev. & Education, and President, Bala Mandir Research Foundation, Chennai

  29. Dr. Kumkum Roy, Centre for Historical Studies, JNU

  30. Prof. Jayati Ghosh, Centre for Economic Studies & Planning, JNU

  31. Prof. Rajni Palriwala, Dept. of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University

  32. Ms. Omita Goyal, Publishing Director, Taylor & Francis Books India Pvt. Ltd.

  33. Dr. Radhika Chopra, Reader, Department of Sociology, University of Delhi

  34. Ms. Mrinal Pande, Journalist, author and currently chief editor of Hindi Daily Hindustan

  35. Dr. Bina Agarwal, Prof. of Economics, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi University 

  36. Dr. Meera Velayudhan, Senior Analyst, Centre for Environment & Social Concern, Ahmedabad

  37. Dr. Debal K. Singha Roy, Professor of Sociology, School of Social Sciences, IGNO

  38. Ms. Indira Chakravarty, Member, Food Authority, Govt. of India. 

  39. Dr Manjeet Bhatia, Faculty, Women's Studies & Development Centre, Uni. of Delhi

  40. Dr. Maithreyi Krishnaraj, former Director, SNDT Women's University, Mumbai

  41. Prof. Imrana Qadeer (Retd.) formerly with Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health, JNU

  42. Dr. (Ms) M.K. Jabbi, Director, Council for Social Development, New Delhi

  43. Dr. Sharada Nayak, Educational Resources Centre, New Delhi

  44. Ms. Kameshwari Jandhyala, Educational Resource Unit, Hyderabad

  45. Prof. Nargis Panchapakesan (Retd. from Department of Education, DU)

  46. Dr. Mala Khullar, Independent Consultant & Co-Editor, Asian Journal of Women's Studies

  47. Prof. Geetha B. Nambissan, Zakir Hussain Centre for Educational Studies, JNU

  48. Dr. Govind Kelkar, Independent Researcher, Gurgaon

  49. Ms. Rasil Basu, EKATRA

  50. Professor Neera Chandhoke, Deptt. Of Political Science, Delhi University, Delhi

  51. Prof. Karuna Chanana , Zakir Hussain Centre for Educational Studies, JNU (Retd.)

  52. Prof. Suvira Jaiswal, (Retd.) Centre for Historical Studies, JNU

  53. Dr. Patricia Uberoi, Nannerl O. Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professor
    Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina and Hony. Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi

  54. Dr. Surinder Jetley (retd.)  formerly Director ,Centre for Women 's Studies , BHU, Varansi

  55. Ms. Pamela Philipose, Women's Feature Service, New Delhi

  56. Dr. Pam Rajput, formerly Director, Centre for Women's Studies, Punjab University

  57. Ms. Kalpana Dasgupta, Ex-Librarian, Central Secretariat

  58. Dr. Aparna Basu, Ex-President, AIWC (Retd.) Department of History, Delhi University

  59. Prof. Prem Chowdhry, Fellow, Nehru Memorial Museum& Library

  60. Dr. Vasanthi Raman, Senior Fellow, Centre for Women's Development Studies

  61. Dr. Sreelekha R. Nair,  Centre for Women's Development Studies

  62. Dr. Neetha Narayana Pillai, Senior Fellow, Centre for Women's Development Studies

  63. Dr. Karen Gabriel, Senior Fellow, Centre for Women's Development Studies

  64. Dr. Renu Addlakha, Senior Fellow, Centre for Women's Development Studies

  65. Ms. Shruti Chaudhry,  Centre for Women's Development Studies

  66. Ms. Nayana Dasgupta, Lecturer, Lady Shri Ram College.

  67. Prof. Ayesh Kidwai, Professor, JNU

  68. Ms.U. Vasuki,  AIDWA

  69. Ms.Soniya Gill, AIDWA

  70. Ms. Pramila Pandhe,  AIDWA

  71. Ms. Anna George, NII

72.  Ms. Anomita Sen

73.  Ms. Chirashree Das Gupta, Patna

74.  Dr. Archana Prasad, Jamia Millia Islamia

75.  Dr. G. Arunima, JNU

76.  Dr. Gail Coelho, Delhi University 

77.  Dr. Lakshmi Subramanian, Jamia Millia Islamia

78.  Dr. Pulapre B, Fellow, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library

79.  Dr. Subhanil Chowdhury, Economic Research Foundation

80.  Dr. Tejaswini Niranjana, Centre For The Study Of Culture And Society

81.  Ms. Jayeeta Bagchi, Jadavpur University (Women Studies)

82.  Mr. Kaushik Das Gupta, Centre For Science And Environment

83.  Mr. Moggallan Bharti, JNU, Phd Student

84.  Ms. Parimal Maya Sudhakar, Ex-Vice President JNUSU

85.  Prof Madhu Sahni, JNU

86.  Prof. Anuradha Chenoy, JNU

87.  Prof. Kamal M. Chenoy, JNU

88.  Prof. Rahul Roy, ISI Delhi

89.  Professor Kavita Panjabi, Jadavpur University.

90.  Ms. Rakhi Ghoshal, Centre For The Study Of Culture & Society, Bengaluru

91.  Mr. Saibal Bishnu, Kolkata

92.  Ms. Sejuti Dasgupta, JNU, Phd Student

93.  Ms. Shruti Parthasarathy

94.  Mr. Siddhartha Chakraborti, JNU, Ma Student 

95.  Mr. Subhash Bose

96.  Dr. Kalika Bali, Microsoft Research

97.  Mr. Avijit Chakraborty

98.  Prof Susan Visvanathan, JNU

99.  Prof Geetha Nambissan, JNU

100.                      Mr. Karmegam Shanmugavel

  1. Dr. Smitha Francis, Principal Economist, Economic Research Foundation (ERF)

  2. Madhvanath, Sriganesh, Senior Research Scientist, HP Labs India

  3. Ms.  J. Devika, CDS, Trivandrum

  4. Mr. Sumit Sarkar

  5. Ms. Meena Gupta, IAS (Retd.) Calcutta

  6. Prof. Tanika Sarkar

  7. Ms. Annie Raja, National Federation of Indian Women, New Delhi.

  8. Ms. Chirashree Das Gupta ,  Centre For Economic Policy and Public Finance .

109.                      Ms. Saleela Patkar, Farmer & Development Consultant ,Karnataka.

  1. . (Captain) Lakshmi Sehgal

  2. Prof. Zoya Hasan, Dept. of Political Science, JNU & Member, National Commission for Minorities

  3. Dr. Mary E. John, Director, Centre for Women's Development Studies

  4. Dr. Indu Agnihotri, Centre for Women's Development Studies

  5. Ms. Subhashini Ali, President, All India Democratic Women's Association

  6. Ms. Sudha Sundararaman, General Secretary, AIDWA

  7. Ms. Mohini Giri, Chairperson, Guild of Service

  8. Dr. Jyotsna Chatterji, Director, Joint Women's Programme

  9. Prof. Upendra Baxi, University of Warwick, UK & former Vice Chancellor, Delhi University.

  10. Prof. Muchkund Dubey, President, Council for Social Development, New Delhi

  11. Mr. Mukul Dube, Delhi, Freelance editor, writer, photographer

  12. Ms. Ela R. Bhatt, Founder, SEWA

  13. Ms. C.P. Sujaya, retired Additional Chief Secretary, Himachal  Pradesh.

  14. Ms. Nirmala Buch, IAS, Retired Secretary, Rural Development, Government of India.

  15. Ms. Sumi Krishna, Former President, Indian Association for Women's Studies

  16. Dr. Mohan Rao, Professor, Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, JNU

  17. Dr. Vasudha Dhagamwar, Hon. Advisor, MARG, Delhi & Chairperson PRAKRITI

  18. Ms. Kalyani Menon-Sen, Gurgaon

  19. Dr. Shakti Kak, Director, Indian School of Women's Studies and Development

  20. Ms. Jayashree Bora, Women's Legal Forum

  21. Ms. Kamla Bhasin, Advisor, Sangat.

  22. Dr. Charu Gupta, Fellow, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library

  23. Ms. Sunanda Rabindranathan, Consultant, Population Council

  24. Dr. Bijayalaxmi Nanda, Senior lecturer, Department of Political Science, Miranda House, Delhi University

  25. Dr. Saradamoni, formerly with Indian Statistical Institute

  26. Dr. S. Anandalakshmy, Advisor on Child Dev. & Education, and President, Bala Mandir Research Foundation, Chennai

  27. Dr. Kumkum Roy, Centre for Historical Studies, JNU

  28. Prof. Jayati Ghosh, Centre for Economic Studies & Planning, JNU

  29. Prof. Rajni Palriwala, Dept. of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University

  30. Ms. Omita Goyal, Publishing Director, Taylor & Francis Books India Pvt. Ltd.

  31. Dr. Radhika Chopra, Reader, Department of Sociology, University of Delhi

  32. Ms. Mrinal Pande, Journalist, author and currently chief editor of Hindi Daily Hindustan

  33. Dr. Bina Agarwal, Prof. of Economics, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi University 

  34. Dr. Meera Velayudhan, Senior Analyst, Centre for Environment & Social Concern, Ahmedabad

  35. Dr. Debal K. Singha Roy, Professor of Sociology, School of Social Sciences, IGNO

  36. Ms. Indira Chakravarty, Member, Food Authority, Govt. of India. 

  37. Dr Manjeet Bhatia, Faculty, Women's Studies & Development Centre, Uni. of Delhi

  38. Dr. Maithreyi Krishnaraj, former Director, SNDT Women's University, Mumbai

  39. Prof. Imrana Qadeer (Retd.) formerly with Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health, JNU

  40. Dr. (Ms) M.K. Jabbi, Director, Council for Social Development, New Delhi

  41. Dr. Sharada Nayak, Educational Resources Centre, New Delhi

  42. Ms. Kameshwari Jandhyala, Educational Resource Unit, Hyderabad

  43. Prof. Nargis Panchapakesan (Retd. from Department of Education, DU)

  44. Dr. Mala Khullar, Independent Consultant & Co-Editor, Asian Journal of Women's Studies

  45. Prof. Geetha B. Nambissan, Zakir Hussain Centre for Educational Studies, JNU

  46. Dr. Govind Kelkar, Independent Researcher, Gurgaon

  47. Ms. Rasil Basu, EKATRA

  48. Professor Neera Chandhoke, Deptt. Of Political Science, Delhi University, Delhi

  49. Prof. Karuna Chanana , Zakir Hussain Centre for Educational Studies, JNU (Retd.)

  50. Prof. Suvira Jaiswal, (Retd.) Centre for Historical Studies, JNU

  51. Dr. Patricia Uberoi, Nannerl O. Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professor
    Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina and Hony. Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi

  52. Dr. Surinder Jetley (retd.)  formerly Director ,Centre for Women 's Studies , BHU, Varansi

  53. Ms. Pamela Philipose, Women's Feature Service, New Delhi

  54. Dr. Pam Rajput, formerly Director, Centre for Women's Studies, Punjab University

  55. Ms. Kalpana Dasgupta, Ex-Librarian, Central Secretariat

  56. Dr. Aparna Basu, Ex-President, AIWC (Retd.) Department of History, Delhi University

  57. Prof. Prem Chowdhry, Fellow, Nehru Memorial Museum& Library

  58. Dr. Vasanthi Raman, Senior Fellow, Centre for Women's Development Studies

  59. Dr. Sreelekha R. Nair,  Centre for Women's Development Studies

  60. Dr. Neetha Narayana Pillai, Senior Fellow, Centre for Women's Development Studies

  61. Dr. Karen Gabriel, Senior Fellow, Centre for Women's Development Studies

  62. Dr. Renu Addlakha, Senior Fellow, Centre for Women's Development Studies

  63. Ms. Shruti Chaudhry,  Centre for Women's Development Studies

  64. Ms. Nayana Dasgupta, Lecturer, Lady Shri Ram College.

  65. Prof. Ayesh Kidwai, Professor, JNU

  66. Ms.U. Vasuki,  AIDWA

  67. Ms.Soniya Gill, AIDWA

  68. Ms. Pramila Pandhe,  AIDWA

  69. Ms. Anna George, NII

179.Ms. Anomita Sen

180.Ms. Chirashree Das Gupta, Patna

181.Dr. Archana Prasad, Jamia Millia Islamia

182.Dr. G. Arunima, JNU

183.Dr. Gail Coelho, Delhi University 

184.Dr. Lakshmi Subramanian, Jamia Millia Islamia

185.Dr. Pulapre B, Fellow, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library

186.Dr. Subhanil Chowdhury, Economic Research Foundation

187.Dr. Tejaswini Niranjana, Centre For The Study Of Culture And Society

188.Ms. Jayeeta Bagchi, Jadavpur University (Women Studies)

189.Mr. Kaushik Das Gupta, Centre For Science And Environment

190.Mr. Moggallan Bharti, JNU, Phd Student

191.Ms. Parimal Maya Sudhakar, Ex-Vice President JNUSU

192.Prof Madhu Sahni, JNU

193.Prof. Anuradha Chenoy, JNU

194.Prof. Kamal M. Chenoy, JNU

195.Prof. Rahul Roy, ISI Delhi

196.Professor Kavita Panjabi, Jadavpur University.

197.Ms. Rakhi Ghoshal, Centre For The Study Of Culture & Society, Bengaluru

198.Mr. Saibal Bishnu, Kolkata

199.Ms. Sejuti Dasgupta, JNU, Phd Student

200.Ms. Shruti Parthasarathy

201.Mr. Siddhartha Chakraborti, JNU, Ma Student 

202.Mr. Subhash Bose

203.Dr. Kalika Bali, Microsoft Research

204.Mr. Avijit Chakraborty

205.Prof Susan Visvanathan, JNU

206.Prof Geetha Nambissan, JNU

207.Mr. Karmegam Shanmugavel

208.Dr. Smitha Francis, Principal Economist, Economic Research Foundation (ERF)

209.Madhvanath, Sriganesh, Senior Research Scientist, HP Labs India

210.Ms.  J. Devika, CDS, Trivandrum

211.Mr. Sumit Sarkar

212.Ms. Meena Gupta, IAS (Retd.) Calcutta

213.Prof. Tanika Sarkar

214.Ms. Annie Raja, National Federation of Indian Women, New Delhi.

215.Ms. Chirashree Das Gupta ,  Centre For Economic Policy and Public Finance .

216. Ms. Saleela Patkar, Farmer & Development Consultant ,Karnataka.


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