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India's top judge faces calls to resign after suggesting schoolgirl marries her rapist so he can avoid jail

INDIA’S Chief Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde faced calls to resign today after he suggested a rapist would be spared jail if he married his schoolgirl victim.

The country’s top judge told the accused at a hearing: “If you want to marry [her], we can help you. If not, you lose your job and go to jail.”

It sparked an angry backlash from women’s rights organisations, with thousands signing a petition demanding his resignation.

According to the petition the man was accused of taking, tying up, gagging and repeatedly raping the girl four years ago, 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.

During another hearing on Monday Mr Bobde questioned whether rape can occur between a married couple. 

“This comment not only legitimises any kind of sexual, physical and mental violence by the husband but it normalises the torture that Indian women have been facing within marriages for years without any legal recourse,” the women’s rights campaigners’ letter stated.

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