Sexual harassment has nothing to do with woman’s dress; even women in burqa molested: Lawyers on Kerala Court’s “provocative dress” order

[State of Kerala v Civic Chandran].

Lawyers of Kerala court’s provocative dress orders. This order was passed by the judge S Krishna Kumar of Kozhikode session court that granted anticipatory bail to writer activist civic named Chandran in sexual harassment case under (section 354A IPC). Under this section any man who commits the offence specified in clause (i) or clause(ii) or clause (iii) of subsection (1) shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years or with or with both.

Over this judgment the legal community has been united and expressing that this call for more judicial training and being sensitive while passing the order and statement. Further it is being stated by the senior advocate that “The act of molestation and outraging the modesty of a woman has nothing to do with provocative dresses. What is provocative is subjective and may differ from person to person. Women are molested even when they are wearing burqa,”and further added “For prosecuting an accused for outraging the modesty, what has to be seen is the criminal intent and his knowledge that the act in question would outrage the modesty of the woman, which is independent of the dress of the victim. This observation of the Sessions Judge is infelicitous and shall have an adverse effect on the understanding of such serious crime against women and thus requires to be set aside,”

Kerala Court in that order had observed that being an anti-caste activist, it was highly unbelievable that he would touch the complainant knowing that she belongs to a Scheduled Caste. “The assumption that sexual interest in indicated by wearing provocative clothing is purely subjective and depends upon the state of mind of the accused. The finding that if the woman is dressing in a provocative manner, Section 354A will not be attracted seems to be misplaced,”