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Kerala Govt Moves HC; Seeks Civic Chandran's Bail Cancellation In Sexual Harassment Case

Kerala govt moved to the High Court challenging the anticipatory bail granted to Civic Chandran by Kozhikode Sessions Court in the sexual harassment case


The Kerala government has moved to High Court seeking cancellation of the anticipatory bail granted to 74-year-old social activist Civic Chandran by Kozhikode Sessions Court in the second sexual harassment case registered against him. 

On August 12, while granting bail to a 74-year-old social activist, the Kozhikode Sessions Court observed that Section 354 A of the Indian Penal Code (sexual harassment) will not prima facie be attracted if a woman was wearing a "sexually provocative" dress. 

In its plea, the Kerala government has sought to remove the controversial remarks in the August 12 observation of the Sessions Court stating that it questions the survivor's right to freedom under the Constitution. The plea further added that the order given by the lower court judge suffers from illegality, lack of sensitivity, sobriety, and perversity, and the bail was granted without considering many facts. Thus, the High court must intervene. 

Kozhikode Court orders bail to Civic Chandran in a sexual harassment case

Chandran has been accused in two sexual harassment cases, one by a young writer, who accused him of molestation during a book exhibition in town in February 2020 and the other one belonged to a Scheduled Tribe community, alleging sexual harassment by him during a book exhibition here in April.

The Kerala Kozhikode Sessions Court was hearing a February 8, 2020 case against 74-year-old accused social activist Civic Chandran. According to the prosecution, Chandran along with the complainant and some other people were camping at Nandi Beach. The victim accused Chandran of grabbing her hand and forcefully taking her to a lonely place and asked to sit on his lap. Thereafter, he tried to outrage her modesty. However, the defence claimed that it was a cooked-up case. 

The Court order read, "The photographs produced along with the bail application by the accused would reveal that the defacto complainant herself is wearing a dress which is sexually provocative. So Section 354A will not prima facie stand against the accused. Even admitting that there was physical contact it is impossible to believe that a man aged 74 and physically disabled can forcefully put the defacto complainant in his lap."

Following the Kozhikode Court's observation, the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal came down heavily on the ruling and highlighted the Indian mentality of 'victim shaming'. "Who will decide which clothes are provoking and which ones are civilized? According to me, there is this mentality in our country where the victim who has been sexually abused ends up getting blamed. This should stop. I want to appeal Kerala High Court to take immediate cognizance of this matter and take immediate stern action," she added. 

(Image: Twitter@RahulEaswar/PTI)

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