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No More Fairytales

Katju’s final response to Noopur Tiwari’s response to his response to her response to his comments on the Delhi rape.

Justice Katju

Dear Noopur,

I have read your latest article in Newslaundry. I appreciate your sentiments, and with respect I share them. Rape and other crimes against women are a disgrace to a society and deserve harsh punishment.

In my judgment in the Supreme Court in Satya Narain Tiwari vs. State of UP (which can be seen online) I said: “The hallmark of a healthy society is the respect it shows to women. Indian society has become a sick society”. In that case, I had said that death penalty should be given in cases of dowry deaths. In our country, young married women are often killed – because they did not bring enough dowry – by pouring kerosene on them and setting them on fire or hanging/strangulating them. Our courts have many such cases. This is a barbaric practice, and no mercy should be shown to such people.

In Bhagwan Das Vs. State (NCT) of Delhi (see online), I said that death penalty should be given for “honour” killing of young couples who are killed by their relatives or caste panchayats because their marriage was inter-caste or inter-religious, or was disapproved of for some other reason.

In my opinion, crimes against women are not ordinary crimes, they are social crimes. They disrupt the entire social fabric, and hence call for harsh punishment.

When a man respects his wife, the child of such a couple sees that justice was done to his mother, who was physically weaker than his father. Hence such a child, when he grows up becomes a brave fighter against injustice. But if he sees his father beating or otherwise mistreating his mother he thinks that oppression and ill-treatment of the weaker is the normal way of functioning, and hence when he grows up he becomes an oppressor or a coward. A society in which a large number of women are maltreated becomes a sick society, as Indian society has become.

I am therefore entirely with you in condemning crimes against women, including rape.

However, what I wish to submit is that such crimes cannot be done away with without destroying the feudal remnants and practices persisting in our society, which are still widespread. What else is caste-ism and communalism? To do away with feudal thinking and practices requires a long period of struggle and patient persuasion among our people by the enlightened, modern minded, section of our society, because most men in India even today regard women as inferior (although IQ tests in psychology have shown that the IQ of an average woman is the same as that of an average man). This means that the scientific outlook and scientific temper must be spread to every nook and corner of our country.

You seem to think that since I have mentioned poverty, malnutrition, unemployment, price rise, lack of healthcare, etc, I am trying to ignore or undermine the seriousness of rape. That is entirely incorrect. I have always condemned crimes against women including rape.

What I am saying is that crimes against women will continue (despite all the hue and cry raised against it and despite making harsh laws against it) as long as feudal remnants and feudal thinking persists in society. In feudal society, women are regarded as inferior to men, and hence ill treatment of women is regarded almost like ill-treatment of animals. That is, a matter of not much importance.

Hence the issue of rape and other crimes against women cannot be considered or resolved in isolation. It can be resolved only by destroying the feudal elements in our society and by spreading scientific and rational thinking widely. This in turn requires a long period of struggle and patient persuasion of the masses by the enlightened sections of our society, which results in fundamental changes in the social system in our country. Without this you can keep shouting and screaming against rape or other crimes against women, but it will be of no avail.

Please forgive me for giving a response to your letter in this form, instead of replying point-wise as you had demanded.

Justice Katju

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More from Justice Markandey Katju


  • http://www.facebook.com/sudhanshu.verma.1612 Sudhanshu Verma

    each time i read katju ..respect increases for him

    • http://groups.google.com/group/right-to-information-act-2005/browse_thread/thread/527272c847524ee2?hl=en Babubhai Vaghela 09427608632

      “Preach but not Practise” is the Hallmark of Higher Judiciary in India. And, Mr Markandey Katju is not an exception. https://t.co/JSpxoIE6

  • http://groups.google.com/group/right-to-information-act-2005/browse_thread/thread/527272c847524ee2?hl=en Babubhai Vaghela 09427608632

    Mr Markandey Katju, included in 18 of 21 Supreme Court retired Judges, are on Govt Panel. His appointment as Chairman Press Council of India was made in clandestine and illegal manner. My repeated appeals to him to leave PCI has not been responded. Even Dr Manmohan Singh, as UPA Govt Prime Minister, has preferred to ignore my plea in this regard. Mr Markandey Katju is at liberty, like We the People, to use his Freedom of Expression but not heading PCI. @BabubhaiVaghela on Twitter.

    • Radha

      You’re an idiot Mr. Vaghela!!! Intent on speaking like a crazy man and entering discussions where you have nothing to contribute. Take your pills regularly- and stay home!

      • http://groups.google.com/group/right-to-information-act-2005/browse_thread/thread/527272c847524ee2?hl=en Babubhai Vaghela 09427608632

        Thanks for adding an adjective. Read here from @BabubhaiVaghela on Twitter https://t.co/JSpxoIE6

      • http://groups.google.com/group/right-to-information-act-2005/browse_thread/thread/527272c847524ee2?hl=en Babubhai Vaghela 09427608632

        Please read what I wrote to then Chief Justice of India Mr Justice SH Kapadia about Mr Katju’s appointment as Chairman of Press Council of India.

        http://goo.gl/WGPzS Love to have your objective feedback. And, fruitful discussion. Publicly.

  • OK.

    I hope this is the last one in the “tu-tu-main-main” series? NewsLaundary?

  • Raptor

    Justice Katju is the one of the most rational citizens of the country…..but most misunderstood too….i think he tried to convey that rapes are not the only problem , jst dnt hype it that much …there are other problems too …the solution of all lies in diaspora of rational and scientific thoughts ….even then people misinterpret.

  • vishwas patankar

    Now this is the brilliant and scholarly Justice Katju I have always held in high esteem…I am so happy he has clarified his views. We certainly need more individuals like you – Justice Katju – who can with their clear thoughts and well directed writing steer the masses in India towards what is correct in all senses.

    P.S. I also hope you have the grace to see that your fairy stories were indeed howlers!! The charming journalist certainly biffed you soundly that time…!

  • Ashish Baidyanathan

    Well Done Nupur, The loudmouth finally mellowed down!!!

    • Justice Katju

      Ashish, I am 67 years old, perhaps as old as your grandfather. Is this the language you have been taught to use to your elders ?

      • Rajendra Kumar

        I agree with Justice Katju- the epithet was totally uncalled for even if like me one disagrees with him occasionally.

      • Ashish Baidyanathan

        Sir, my Father is 77 years Old and my mother is 67 years old , Forgive me but even when he makes the most Justified of points i hv never seen him being disrespectfull of others. As much as sometimes(yes ) like what you do i hate the way assume a higher ground with all your argument and belittle everyone.even though i am 40 years younger to you , i wud respectfully ask you to connect better with the aspirations of candle light vigilantes.There is a section in this country which does nation building sans Politics and bureaucracy and has been at the receiving end of Law wielding ideology spitting class.

  • Dinu

    What about the recent judgement of Justice Katju where he reduced the 10 years sentences of rapists in lieu of rs.50000 fine?….. And he says “Rape and other crimes against women are a disgrace to a society and deserve harsh punishment.”… with all due respect…. what an irony !!!

    • Justice Katju

      I have clarified the reasons for my judgment on my blog justicekatju.blogspot .in, which you may please see

      • Dinu

        Thank you for your reply… I have visited your blog and read the clarification…. and frankly I have to disagree with you… Does your judgement means that …. 1.in cases where the rapist is rich and victim poor then he can get away with paying compensation?…… 2.Why compensation in lieu of punishment instead of in addition to punishment……. 3.Going by the same logic, Wud you tomorrow advocate payment of blood money in case of murder cases too?? if the victims are poor….

        • Justice Katju

          It was not compensation instead of punishment. The accused had spent 3 and a half years in jail, and not that they had never been to jail. The punishment was reduced, and not that there was no punishment at all. Moreover the woman had herself signed a joint application filed in Court stating that instead of sending the accused to jail again she would prefer that she be given compensation, because the compensation would enable her to look after her 2 children better. Also, the incident was 15 years old

  • venkat radhakrishnan

    I think the debate has carried on too long! Becoming irksome!

    • Vinod Agnihotri

      I agree!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arun-Kumar-Saxena/100002541830588 Arun Kumar Saxena

    Justice Katju’s views on countries problems merit respect and consideration.His scholarship should not and cannot be taken for granted.

    However, he will rise more in my esteem ,if, he targets the evil of “Paid Journalism” in India.This hard reality has shaken the “Fourth Pillar” of democracy popularly called the Fourth Estate.

    It is common knowledge that the indian Media, print as well as electronic, is sold out to the political class. Journalists owing allegiance to the Nehru-Gandhi-Vadra dynasty are being feted and paid regularly by the ruling dispensation.Their details are are a common knowledge in the journalistic circles. Radia tapes were a small sample.

    The Media ,in return for the kickbacks, create media hypes to improve the sagging image of the Congress.Even a non-event connected with Sonia and Rahul Gandhi is portrayed as a ‘Breaking News”. Their facetious and irrelevant remarks grab the headlines. The Media’s single point agenda is to project Rahul Gandhi as the next Prime Minister. Even seasoned journalists are shy of questioning Rahul’s potential as a leader.Not to lag behind, the senior Congressmen take pride in praising the dynasty to secure themselves in the eternal game of One-up-manship. Shameless and disgusting creatures, they are.
    Ethics in Journalism has undergone a paradigm shift.

    Let the Chairperson Press Council of India,Justice Katju focus his attention to it.

    A K SAXENA (A retired civil servant)
    http://www.aksaxena.co.in
    blog.aksaxena.co.in

  • vivek

    “what i am saying is that crimes against women will continue (despite all the hue and cry raised against it and despite making harsh laws against it) as long as feudal remnants and feudal thinking persists in society.” no mr katju, u didn’t say that in the post u had written in the first place! u may brow beat now since u have the space n the authority but if u want others to comprehend what u write then write it that way! but apparently u love trolling n getting trolled!