The Kerala government has moved the high court challenging the anticipatory bail granted to the author and social activist Civic Chandran on 2 August, in a sexual harassment case filed by a Dalit writer.
The government has cited that the order is against the spirit of the special law enacted for Prevention of Atrocities against the people belonging to Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribe community.
The accused was booked in a sexual harassment case punishable under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections relating to sexual harassment and relevant provisions under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1999.
The 71-year-old is currently facing two cases of sexual harassment, the first filed on 17 July and the second on 29 July. While he received bail in the first case on 2 August, the second one was received on 12 August.
Observations made by Judge S Krishnakumar of the Kozhikode District Sessions Court in the both the bail orders were slammed by former judges, politicians and netizens, calling out the ‘victim blaming’.
In the first bail order the judge had said:
“The accused is a reformist and is engaged in social activities…and he is against the caste system...In such a circumstance it is highly unbelievable that he will touch the body of the victim fully knowing that she is a member of scheduled caste.”
The prosecution has said that the complainant organised a function on 17 April, in connection with the publication of her book at Nandi. After the event, Chandran had allegedly said, “I want to kiss the back of your neck,” which he then proceeded to do as per the woman, thus outraging the modesty of the woman with the knowledge that the she belonged to Scheduled Caste.
The government has appealed that the sessions court went wrong in considering the pre-arrest bail application under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, when there is an absolute bar under Section 18 and 18 A of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (PA) Act, 1989.
This comes after a controversy erupted regarding the observations made by the judge in the bail order of the second sexual harassment case.
The judge had said that the offence under sexual harassment is not prima facie attracted when the woman is wearing a "sexually provocative dress.”
(With inputs from LiveLaw.)