Thousands demand India’s Chief Justice quit over remarks about rape

MUMBAI: India's Chief Justice is facing calls to resign after telling an accused rapist to marry his schoolgirl victim to avoid jail.

More than 5,000 people have signed a petition demanding Chief Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde quit after he told the technician: "If you want to marry (her), we can help you. If not, you lose your job and go to jail."

Justice Bobde's comments sparked a furore and prompted women's rights activists to circulate a letter calling for his resignation that has secured more than 5,200 signatures, campaigner Vani Subramanian said.

According to the letter, the man is accused of stalking, tying up, gagging and repeatedly raping the girl before threatening to douse her in petrol, set her alight and have her brother killed.

"By suggesting that this rapist marry the victim-survivor, you, the Chief Justice of India, sought to condemn the victim-survivor to a lifetime of rape at the hands of the tormentor who drove her to attempt suicide," the letter said.

The letter also referred to another hearing during which Justice Bobde questioned if non-consensual sex between a married couple could ever be considered rape.

Marital rape is not a crime in India. - AFP