The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to transfer a rape case filed by a woman from a male to female judge, saying that accepting such a request would open floodgates since all such matters would be required to be shifted to special courts, reported PTI.

The case, which is pending in a trial court, involves allegations of misuse of the complainant’s photographs on a pornography site, reported The Indian Express.

The woman had moved the High Court, asking to transfer the case to a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences court. Her petition said that she does not feel comfortable appearing before the trial court and that the presiding officer has been insensitive. She sought orders to shift the case to a female judge.

A single judge bench of Justice Anish Dayal, however, said that there was no inflexible mandate for the trial of matters under Section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code to be dealt with by a court presided over by a woman judge.

He also said that mere apprehension cannot be a ground to transfer the case. “This would create a precedent which would open floodgates where all cases being tried for offences under Section 376 IPC would be required to be transferred to special courts dealing with POCSO and/or presided by a woman judge,” the judge added.

The High Court noted that when no such directions have been passed on the administrative or judicial side for an unbiased mandate, a transfer may potentially create difficulties in administration of justice, allocation and preservation of jurisdictions, reported The Indian Express.

While disposing off the plea, Justice Dayal stated that presiding officers, whether male or female, are expected to handle such cases in a sensitive manner and according to the directions passed by the Supreme Court and the High Court.

“In this context, it may be appropriate to remind ourselves of the famous aphorism: ‘Justice must not only be done, but must also be seen to be done’,” he said.

The accused man in the case was arrested on November 11, 2020, while his laptop was already seized by police in a previous matter.

Apart from rape, the man is booked under Sections 354A (sexual harassment) and 387 (putting person in fear of death or of grievous hurt, in order to commit extortion) of the Indian Penal Code as well as Sections 66E (violation of privacy) and 67A (punishment for publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act, etc., in electronic form) of the Information Technology Act.