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Kerala Court Just Observed Sexual Harassment Charges Won’t Stand If Woman’s Wearing “Sexually Provocative Dress.” We Object!

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A court is a place from which anyone expects justice. A place where every picture is looked at rationally and also with a mindset to set an example for such similar cases in the future. Especially, if the court is dealing with matters of sexual harassment and rape crimes against a woman, the judgments passed by law holds a significant impact on society. But recently a very disappointing and regressive ideology was witnessed by the country in a bail judgement given by a court in Kerala. As per the bench, sexual harassment cases hold no ground if the woman was wearing a “sexually provocative dress.” The judgement has yet again raised many questions about the kind of mindset being promoted by the protectors of law.

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On August 12, a district session court in Kozhikode, Kerala granted anticipatory bail to a man named Civic Chandran in an alleged case of sexual harassment. Chandran who is a social activist presented the photographs of the woman from the day of the crime along with the bail plea. After a considerable discussion, the court observed that if the woman is wearing a sexually arousing dress, then sexual harassment charges will prima facie not stand. Moreover, the court also took into consideration the pictures in their decision to grant bail and said that the woman is “exposing herself through the dress” and therefore the section of 354A will not be applicable against the accused. Elaborating on the section more, the court stated that there should be an intention on the part of the accused to force sexual advancements on a woman. What makes this judgement all the more questionable is the fact that the man granted bail, in this case, was also allegedly accused of a sexual harassment charge earlier from which he received bail on August 2, as per news reports.

Also Read: Sexual Harassment Has Been Listed As An “Unparliamentary Term”. Umm, Why?

This judgement is demeaning to every woman in the country who are in a constant battle to achieve basic freedom in society. A court considering the woman’s dress to grant bail to a man who has allegedly been charged with sexual harassment case is the last thing we all would expect from our justice system. 

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