Mumbai: In the wake of a national outcry over the rising cases of rapes, the Bombay High on Thursday made a strong observation and said that India's image has "taken a beating" due to these shameful incidents. The observation was made by the division bench of Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice Bharati Dangre, which said that an increased perception abroad about India is that it is a "country of crimes and rapes".
Besides an impression that "liberal and secular people are not safe", due to the prevailing scenario, the rest of world is hesitant to engage with India on educational or cultural matters, the division bench observed.
"Anywhere we go, we have to answer a barrage of questions... Unfortunate that today, the image is such that those living abroad feel only rapes and crimes take place in India,'' the bench said.
"They are under the impression that liberal, open-minded and secular people can't be safe here and are bound to be attacked. The country's image is suffering due to acts of a few," the bench observed.
It said that no international body is keen to be part of "our educational-cultural projects, and even investors show initial enthusiasm but pull out later".
"No institution, including the judiciary in the country, is spared from this... We are very sorry to see this... Do we want to live in a cocoon?" the bench asked.
The division bench of the Bombay High Court made these candid observations while responding to petitions filed by the kin of slain rationalists - Narendra Dabholkar on August 20, 2013, in Pune and Communist stalwart Govind Pansare on February 20, 2015, in Kolhapur - seeking a court-monitored investigation.
The recent rape of a minor, belonging to the nomadic community, in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua district and the alleged gang-rape of a teenager in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh has triggered severe protests across the country.
Expressing concerns about the rising cases of rapes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Wednesday said that there should be no politics over such things while also warning that such heinous crimes will not be tolerated at any cost.
PM Modi made these remarks while interacting with the Indian diaspora during the 'Bharat Ki Baat, Sabke Saath' event in London's Westminster.
Without directly referring to the Kathua and Unnao rape cases, the PM said that it's really painful when a minor is raped and forced to face such torture and brutality.
"A rape is a rape. How can we tolerate this exploitation of our daughters,'' the PM asked.
''"But can we compare the number of rapes in different governments? We cannot say there were this many rapes in our government and that many in yours. There cannot be a worse way to deal with this issue," PM Modi said.
Calling it the evil of not just the individual but also of the society, the Prime Minister said people need to teach their sons to treat girls with respect.
(With Agency Inputs)