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Sexually Provocative Outfit Statement In Civic Chandran's Bail Order Sparks Controversy

Wednesday, Live Law reported that a Kerala court ruled that the Indian Penal Code Section 354, which criminalises outraging a woman's modesty, does not apply to a complainant who was wearing a "sexually suggestive clothing."

The Kozhikode Sessions Court made the remark in the author Civic Chandran's bail order, who has been charged with harassing a lady on Nandy beach in February 2020, according to The Hindu. This is the second allegation of sexual harassment brought against Chandran in the last year.

The court said that there was insufficient evidence to substantiate the allegations against Chandran on August 12, when it granted him bail. The court said that there were several witnesses when the alleged harassment occurred on the busy beach, but no one backed the accusation.

On the basis of Chandran's submission of the woman's social media images with his bail plea, the judge issued the comment on Indian Penal Code Section 354, as reported by Live Law.

"The images submitted with the defendant's bail application demonstrate that the de facto complainant herself is wearing outfits that are sexually suggestive," the court said. Therefore, Section 354A is not prima facie admissible against the defendant.

The author's aim to offend the woman's modesty was also lacking, according to the court's bail judgement.

It is unfathomable that he would touch a Scheduled Caste individual.

August 2 was the day Chandran was granted anticipatory bail in the first alleged molestation case.

The Hindu claimed in July that a Dalit woman writer had accused the author of trying to molest her. Chandran was charged with violating Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

However, Kozhikode Sessions Judge K Krishna Kumar said that for the Atrocities Act to apply, the accused must have known that the lady was a member of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe.

The court said that Chandran was not initially charged with violating the Atrocities Act because "it is very implausible that he would touch the body of the victim knowing that she is a Scheduled Caste member."

The court was reportedly shocked that the 74-year-old author, who has a physical disability, could have forced the accuser to sit on his lap and fondle her breasts. The court stated that there was no evidence of the actual sexual contact, solicitations, and explicit sexual overtures required under Section 354.

The court also said that, given the author's age and health, it was implausible that he had kissed the lady on the back without her agreement. It also included images apparently demonstrating that Chandran and the Dalit woman writer were on "cordial terms" and said that they had a disagreement over the release of a literary work authored by the lady. According to Judge Krishna Kumar, this lawsuit looked to be an effort to damage Chandran's name.

They pointed out that the freedom to choose what to wear and how to wear it is a logical extension of Article 21 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to life and personal liberty. It is not appropriate for the Honorable Court to make such statements.

Written By: Samridhi Sharma, LLB (3rd year) - Chandigarh University, Ghauran
Email: [email protected]

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