'Irrelevant Material Considered': Kerala HC Stays Bail to Civic Chandran
However, the HC said that Chandran shall not be arrested until the appeal is heard by the court.
The Kerala High Court on Wednesday, 24 August, stayed the controversial order of the Kozhikode Sessions Court granting anticipatory bail to writer Civic Chandran, accused of sexual harassment in two cases.
The high court granted the stay on a plea moved by the state government seeking to cancel the anticipatory bail granted to Chandran by the sessions court.
Justice Kauser Edappagath, in his order, observed that the sessions judge seemed to have relied on irrelevant material while passing the order.
In its plea, the state government also sought to remove the controversial remarks in the Kozhikode Sessions Court judge S Krishnakumar's order while granting bail to the 74-year-old writer.
The judge had observed that the offence under sexual harassment is not prima facie attracted when the woman was wearing a "sexually provocative dress."
'Bail Order Cannot Be Justified'
"Prima facie it appears that there was an improper exercise of jurisdiction by the Session Judge while granting bail to the accused. Irrelevant materials of substantial nature are seen relied on to grant bail. The finding of the impugned order that Section will not be prima facie attracted if the victim was wearing sexually provocative dress cannot be justified. In these circumstances, the impugned order shall stand stayed till the disposal of this appeal," Bar and Bench reported, quoting the court order.
However, the court made it clear that Chandran shall not be arrested until the matter is heard by the High Court.
"Considering the age of the accused, he shall not be arrested till the disposal of this plea," the Kerala HC order stated.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Kozhikode District Judge S Krishnakumar, who made the controversial remarks in the judgement granting anticipatory bail to Chandran, was transferred from his post.
Why Is the Order by the Lower Court Controversial?
Writer-activist Civic Chandran has been accused in two sexual harassment cases.
First Case: A Dalit writer complained to the police that Chandran had tried to kiss her on her neck and outraged her modesty on 17 April.
Second Case: A woman alleged that Chandran sexually harassed her in 2020 at a poetry camp at Kozhikode’s Nandi beach.
In the first case, the judge observed that a case of sexual harassment complaint under Section 354 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) will not prima facie stand as the woman was wearing a “sexually provocative dress."
In the second order, the same court held that because the accused is a reformer, who is engaged in social activities against the caste system, “it is highly unbelievable that he will touch the body of the victim fully knowing that she is a member of a Scheduled Caste."
(With inputs from PTI and Bar and Bench.)
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