As Kozhikode Sessions Court granted bail to the author and social activist Civic Chandran, the bench observed that the offence under Section 354A of the Indian Penal Code is not prima facie if the woman was wearing ‘sexually provocative clothes.’ The court also expressed disbelief that a 74-year-old could forcefully put the defacto complainant in his lap or harass her.
“The photographs produced along with the bail application by the accused would reveal that the defacto complainant herself is exposing to dresses which are having some sexual provocative one,” the court said. “So Section 354A will not prima facie stand against the accused.”
However, as the judgement came to public notice, people on Twitter reacted to it. A Twitter user Swapnil Naik said, “and who will decide whether the dress is sexually provocative or not? You might find a saree sexually provocative too! The courts should limit them to the law of land.” People have also advised the bench not to mix their personal opinion with judgements.
Many have expressed their concerns over the safety of women in India.
Another Twitter user expressed their sadness over the misinterpretation of law by the court itself. They said,”A bare reading of the provision would show that the survivor’s clothing is irrelevant when it comes to the offence of sexual harassment.”
However, the court mentioned that the author’s intention to outrage the woman’s modesty was also absent, the court stated in its bail order.
Chandran has been accused of sexual harassment twice so far this year.
According to The Hindu, the author was purportedly accused of trying to molest a Dalit lady writer in July.
The same judge granted him bail in this instance on August 2.