Highly unbelievable he will touch (her) knowing she is an SC: Kerala courttext_fields
Kozhikode: The Kozhikode district sessions court in Kerala recently granted anticipatory bail to writer and social critic Civic Chandran and noted that the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act would not constitute a prima facie case against the accused because it "is highly unbelievable that he will touch the body of the victim fully knowing that she is member of Scheduled Caste". The court made this statement in a case of sexual harassment brought against Chandran by a Dalit writer.
"In order to attract the offence under the Act, it has to be established that the accused was with the knowledge that the victim belonged to a member of SC/ST," the court further said.
Chandran was accused of sexual harassment twice this year and was given anticipatory bail in both instances. In the first instance, a Dalit writer reported Chandran to the police on July 17 after claiming that he had attempted to kiss her on the neck and violated her modesty on April 17. He was granted anticipatory bail in this case on August 2 by the district court in Kozhikode.
On August 12, the same court granted Chandran anticipatory release in the second case, noting that the offence under Section 354(A) (sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code would prima facie not be attracted if the woman was wearing "sexually provocative clothing."
Sessions Judge K Krishna Kumar stated in the anticipatory bail ruling pertaining to the allegation of the Dalit writer that the evidence proved "this is an attempt to tarnish the status of the accused in society".
"He is fighting against the caste system and is involved in several agitations. It is not at all stated in the first information statement that the act of the accused was with the knowledge that the victim belonged to a member of SC. The copy of the SSLC book of the accused shows that he had refused to mention the caste name in it. The accused is a reformist and is engaged in fighting against the caste system, writing for a casteless society," the court said adding that the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act violations do not constitute a prima facie case against the accused, according to the Indian Express.
Chandran was charged with violating the Indian Penal Code's sections354, 354 (A) (i), 354 A (2), and 354 D (2) of the Indian Penal Code related to sexual harassment and use of assault or criminal force with an intent to outrage a woman's modesty and under sections 3 (1) w (1) and 3 (2) (va) of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The district court cited sections 3 (1) W (1) and 3 (2) (va) of the SC/ST Crime when it stated that the accused should have known that the victim is an SC/ST and that the alleged act was sexually natural and committed without consent. The complainant had not provided a convincing justification for the delay in registering the complaint, according to the court. The court stated that although they had friendly relations, they disagreed with the publication of the Dalit writer's work. It cannot be believed that the accused, who is older and in poorer health, kissed the back of the woman who is taller than the accused, the court added.
The complainant also cited another individual who had sexually harassed her in a Facebook post, but the identity of that person was not included in the complaint, the court observed. A three-person women's panel had looked into the social media allegation, but the court found that it did not establish the accused's guilt.