Saturday, August 1, 2020

Bihar: Araria Magistrate sends gang rape survivor to jail for the contempt of court

Is the price of Justice too high for the Underprivileged. In an incident, a 22-year-old gang-rape survivor was sent to jail for obstructing proceedings of the court in Araria, Bihar, when she didn’t sign the statement handed over by the magistrate because she couldn’t understand and it wanted one of her confidant to read it and understand it. subsequently, the two social workers accompanying her were also charged and sent to jail.

In the FIR lodged by a court staff against the trio, the victim had grown agitated upon being asked to sign a transcript of the statement and insisted that Kalyani and Nivedita be called in for a perusal of the document.

On 7th July the victim filed a complaint, allegedly she was gang-raped on the 6th of July by four-person. In her statement, she said she was taken to a secluded place forcefully by three persons when she went out to learn how to ride a motorcycle with an acquaintance who she believes that was involved with 3 accused who took her and then she says 1 more assailant joined them and raped her.

Being subjugated to the horrendous ordeal again and again than waiting for hours with an empty stomach to record her statement in the lower court while someone in the justice department points a finger on her character where she has come to seek redressal and afterwards she snaps and yells when her request, that she wants someone she trusts to read the statement which she doesn’t understand before she signs it, declined. Does it really commence an obstruction and contempt of court?

The mental state in which the girl would have been was in no doubt, the disoriented and then insensitive manner in which the magistrate took no cognizance of these facts while regarding her clamour as a personal affront questions the astute image of the judiciary. The survival was already in a distraught state, downtrodden emotionally and physically, and this sentence from the placed where she hoped for support and will only increment her throes.

In a letter to the chief justice and other judges of the Patna High Court, 376 advocates voiced concern over how the 22-year-old woman and two social workers accompanying her at a court in Araria district were recently remanded in judicial custody and sent to a jail in Dalsinghsarai, about 240 km away. Signatories to this letter include luminaries like Indira Jaisingh, Prashant Bhushan, and Vrinda Grover, expressing unhappiness that when the victim appeared before the magistrate on July 10, the latter took her disoriented state of mind as a personal affront.

On social media platforms, this incident has received strong backlash with  #freekalyani & #freetanmay trending on twitter.


Kannan Gopinathan is a former Indian Administrative Service Officer and an activist from Kerala. 

Harsh Mander is an Indian author, columnist, researcher, teacher, and social activist.

The obtrusive perplexing attitude of the judiciary system towards the victims of rapes not only hampers the will of victims to come forward and report the crime but also abridges the fundamental right of equal protection of the law and further contributes to crimes against women. It is of utmost importance that law should treat someone diligently who's self-respect have been ravished by the villains of society.
After nearly a week of the prison sentence, the gang-rape survivor is now released on bail while two social workers Kalyani and Nivedita are still in jail.

from The Second Angle


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