Sunday, Apr 19, 2015

Change mindset that molestation victims invite trouble, says court

sexual_assault The observation was made after the court dismissed the bail pleas of two persons accused of molesting a woman.
Written by Shalini Narayan | New Delhi | Published on:June 2, 2014 4:37 am

A Delhi court has asserted that society needs to leave behind the mindset that if a molestation victim is not fleeing while the act is committed, she is actually welcoming the sexual aggression against her. The observation was made after the court dismissed the bail pleas of two persons accused of molesting a woman.

According to the prosecution, on April 18, the accused Vikram and Sindhi, and two other persons were arrested for reportedly passing lewd remarks at the woman and following her. In her statement, the woman had said that when she objected, one of the accused held her hand and the other pulled off her dupatta.

To save herself, she claimed, she ran into a TSR. However, the TSR driver too joined the accused persons and molested the woman, the complaint stated. During the hearing, the prosecution opposed the bail pleas expressing apprehension that the accused would “pressure the complainant and thwart the trial”.

The defence, however, said “once she heard the lewd remarks against her, the complainant should have returned home but she did not do so. That mere pulling of dupatta does not amount to attempt to disrobe. This is a fit case to grant bail”.

After hearing both sides, the court of Additional Sessions Judge Girish Kathpalia said, “In my view, society needs to change the mindset to expect the victim to flee, and if she does not, to infer her implicit welcome to the acts of sexual aggression. For, it is the duty of society to ensure an absolute freedom of movement to every individual, including a female… Acts of sexual harassment are not just bodily offences, but have a far more serious impact on the overall society”.

“The fact remains that such offences against women are rising in the society. Compounding this is the mindset that when a female gets a slightest of whiff of any sexual aggression, she should run away, which is one of the arguments in these bail applications,” the court said.

“The accused had the audacity to threaten the complainant with an acid attack a night before her statement under section 164 CrPc was recorded. Going by that, I do not find the apprehension of prosecution — that if released on bail at this stage, the accused persons shall certainly pressure the complainant and thwart the trial — unreasonable. I do not find it a fit case to grant the relief sought. Both applications are dismissed,” the court said.

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