Rulings Let Women Down as Kerala Court Orders Sexual Harassment Complaint Is Invalid If Woman Wears “Provocative Dress”

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The court observed while granting bail to author Civic Chandran, who was booked for allegedly molesting women twice

A sexual harassment charge (Section 354 A of the Indian Penal Code) will not stand in case a woman is wearing a “sexually provocative” dress, a Kerala Court observed on Wednesday. 

Hence, Kozhikode Sessions Court granted bail to 74-year-old social activist Civic Chandran on August 12 on observing this. 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 sexually provocative dress. 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.”

The court was hearing a February 8, 2020 case where the accused had allegedly caught the hands of the defacto complainant and forcefully took her to a lonely place. He asked the defacto complainant to sit on his lap. After that, he tried to outrage her modesty. The Koyilandy police registered the case for offences under Sections 354A(2), 341 and 354 of IPC.

District Sessions Judge S Krishna Kumar said, “It was impossible to believe that a 74-year-old physically disabled man could forcefully do things which he had been accused of. “…So, it is a case where an accused can be granted bail.’’ 

CPM leader and Kerala Women’s Commission chairperson P Sathidevi expressed concern over the court’s order. “It shows that the court has justified the atrocities against women, pointing at their dresses. It is miserable. This verdict will send a wrong message in cases related to sexual harassment and atrocities,’’ she said.

  • Staff Reporter 

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