Kerala Govt Moves High Court Against Controversial Order By Sessions Court In Sexual Harassment Case
The Kerala government on Friday moved the High Court seeking to set aside a sessions court order granting bail to social activist and writer 'Civic' Chandran in a case of sexually abusing a Dalit woman, contending that the judgement of the lower court "suffers from illegality and manifest errors" warranting its intervention.
While granting bail to Chandran in the case, Kozhikode Sessions Court judge S Krishnakumar, in his order dated August 2, had observed that the accused is a reformist, and against the caste system and it is highly unbelievable that he will touch the body of the victim fully knowing that she belongs to the Scheduled Caste (SC).
Observing that the accused is fighting against the caste system and is involved in a number of agitations, the court had also said the offences under various sections of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act will not prima facie stand against him.
In its appeal, the state government contended that the order passed by the Sessions Court is absolutely unsustainable and against the spirit of the law enacted for prevention of atrocities, hence, the same is liable to be set aside.
The government said the sessions court seriously erred in stating in the order that there is no prima facie case made out against the accused.
"Going through the statement of the victim and the outcome of the investigation conducted so far revealed the complicity of the accused and prima facie there are sufficient materials in the First Information Statement itself," it said.
The state government said the court omitted to consider the fact that the offences alleged against the accused are outraging the modesty of a woman which are serious in nature, that too against a victim belonging to Scheduled Caste.
"The finding of the Sessions Court that there is no whisper in the First Information Statement that the act of the accused was with knowledge that the victim belongs to a member of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe is wrong conclusion, which will not stand in the eye of law," it said.
Accusing the sessions judge of considering the application for pre-arrest bail in a casual and haphazard manner, the government said the judicial officer also "wrongly exercised the direction in a very serious case in an insensitive and unimaginative manner".
"The learned Sessions judge considered the application for pre-arrest bail in a casual and haphazard manner and wrongly exercised the direction in a very serious case in an insensitive and unimaginative manner," it said.
The same judge on August 12 granted bail to the same accused in a sexual abuse case, observing that the offence under sexual harassment is not prima facie attracted, when the woman was wearing "sexually provocative dress".
Chandran has been accused in two sexual harassment cases, one by a writer and belonging to a Scheduled Tribe community, alleging sexual harassment by him during a book exhibition here in April. The other was by a young writer, who accused him of sexual harassment during a book exhibition in February 2020.
The Koyilandy police had registered cases against Chandran, but had not been able to arrest him as he has been at large since the first case was registered.
Chandran was granted anticipatory bail in the first case on August 2 and in the second case on August 12.
With PTI inputs