Kerala court cites provocative dress to grant bail in sexual harassment case

Published on Aug 17, 2022 02:28 PM IST

Activists decried judge Krishnakumar’s order, which was passed on Friday last but was made available on Wednesday, and sought the Kerala high court’s intervention

Judge Krishnakumar also questioned a delay in filing the First Information Report. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Judge Krishnakumar also questioned a delay in filing the First Information Report. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A sessions court in Kerala’s Kozhikode has granted anticipatory bail to writer Civic Chandran, 74, in a sexual harassment case saying the charges against him under the Indian Penal Code’s Section 354A will not prima facie stand if the complainant was wearing a provocative dress.

It cited the photographs that Chandran produced with his bail plea and said they showed the complainant “herself exposing to dresses which are having some sexual provocative one”. Section 354A will hence not stand against Chandran, it added.

Activists decried judge Krishnakumar’s order, which was passed on Friday last but was made available on Wednesday, and sought the Kerala high court’s intervention. The complainant, who filed the case against Chandran for allegedly molesting her two years ago, said she had posted the pictures produced in the court on social media and that she will take the matter to the high court.

Krishnakumar also questioned a delay in filing the First Information Report, which was filed two years after the alleged molestation in February 2020 during a conference of writers. In the FIR, the complainant alleged Chandran called her regularly to harass her and she decided to file a complaint when it crossed all limits.

Krishnakumar raised doubts about the complaint’s version. “Even admitting that there was physical contact, it is impossible to believe that a man...aged 74 and physically disabled can forcefully put...[the] complainant in his lap and sexually press her private part. So, it is a fit case wherein the accused can be granted bail,” the order said.

“...to attract Section 354, there must be physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures. There must be a demand or request for sexual favours. There must be sexually coloured remarks.”

Activist K Ajitha questioned how could such an insensitive order be passed. “It is really shocking and some male judges also need lessons in gender sensitivity.”

Former high court judge Kemal Pasha said he never expected such an order and called it highly biased and uncalled for.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Ramesh Babu is HT’s bureau chief in Kerala, with about three decades of experience in journalism.

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