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Courts should desist from expressing any stereotype opinion on women, in words spoken during proceedings, or in the course of a judicial order - Supreme Court   Mar 18, 2021

In an appeal filed by public-spirited individuals, concerned about the adverse precedent set by the imposition of certain bail conditions in a case involving a sexual offence against a woman, the Supreme Court observed as follows:

"Judges especially should not use any words, spoken or written, that would undermine or shake the confidence of the survivor in the fairness or impartiality of the court.

Further, courts should desist from expressing any stereotype opinion, in words spoken during proceedings, or in the course of a judicial order, to the effect that

(i) women are physically weak and need protection; 

(ii) women are incapable of or cannot take decisions on their own; 

(iii) men are the “head” of the household and should take all the decisions relating to family;

(iv) women should be submissive andobedient according to our culture; 

(v) “good” women are sexually chaste; 

(vi )motherhood is the duty and role of every woman, and assumptions to the effect that she wants to be a mother; 

(vii) women should be the ones in charge of their children, their upbringing and care;

(viii) being alone at night or wearing certain clothes make women responsible for being attacked; 

(ix) a woman consuming alcohol, smoking, etc. may justify unwelcome advances by men or “has asked for it”; 

(x) women are emotional and often overreact or dramatize events, hence it is necessary to corroborate their testimony; 

(xi) testimonial evidence provided by women who are sexually active may be suspected when assessing “consent” in sexual offence cases; and 

(xii) lack of evidence of physical harm in sexual offence case leads to an inference of consent by the woman.

Copy of the judgement is attached   



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