A 22-year-old woman, who was reportedly gangraped on 6 July, has been sent to judicial custody on charges of ‘obstructing government servants from discharging their duty’ among other charges.
According to a report in The Indian Express, it is alleged that the woman raised her voice and refused to sign on the statement, until it was read out to her. Along with the woman, who works as a cook, two other activists have also been sent to judicial custody.
The woman is lodged at the district jail in Dalsinghsarai, some 240 km away from where they were produced. A number of senior advocates, including Indira Jaising, Prashant Bhushan and others have written to the Chief Justice of the Patna High Court, recognising the need to “infuse the incident with some sensitivity” by taking the survivor’s fragile condition in mind.
The three have been booked under various sections of the IPC, 353 assault or criminal force to stop public servant from doing their duty, 229 personation of juror, 188 disobedience to order, 180 refusing to sign his/her own statement made and for contempt of court.
While the survivor’s medical report is still awaited, investigation into the rape charges levelled by her are ongoing. One person has reportedly been arrested for the same, so far.
The FIR reportedly states that the activists were “asking for a copy of the victim’s recorded statement from the presiding officer and also threatened that they belonged to Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan.”
‘Need for Urgent, Systemic Changes in Treatment of Survivors of Violent Sexual Crimes’
Over 350 advocates working across the country have written to the top judges of the Patna High Court, seeking their intervention in the “excessive and harsh” treatment of the survivor.
Stating that the alleged contempt had drawn attention away from the gang rape of the survivor and the subsequent case, the letter claimed that the woman was being maligned in local electronic media, with her private information being broadcast.
“We submit that the remand into judicial custody is excessive and harsh given the circumstances. The survivor’s emotional state is extremely fragile and we fear that the separation from her caregivers and incarceration will have an adverse affect on her health. In popular perception, too, the survivor is being maligned: ‘If she is ‘bold’ enough to raise her voice at the magistrate, then of course she is ‘bold’ enough to invite attention’. We pray that your Lordships intervene into the matter...” the letter reads.
“Rather than understanding the fragile state of the three people, they were first remanded to police custody. It may be pointed out that no Covid test was conducted on the survivor, even though she had been gang-raped by several strangers (sic),” the letter adds.
(With inputs from The Indian Express)
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