DCW chief Swati Maliwal on Wednesday slammed the observation made by a court in Kerala that an offence under sexual harassment is not prima facie attracted when the woman was wearing “sexually provocative dress”, questioning who will decide whether the clothes are revealing or not. She asserted that the Kerala High Court should take cognizance of the matter and take action.
The district sessions court in Kerala’s Kozhikode made the observation last week while granting bail to 74-year-old social activist and writer Civic Chandran in a sexual abuse case. Maliwal, in a video message, fumed, “If a judge will speak such language, what will the common man say? An eight-month-old girl wearing frock was raped in Delhi. Were her clothes also sexually provocative? Who decides whether an outfit is provocative or decent?” She said the mentality to blame the victim in such cases has to change. “I request the Kerala High Court to look into the matter and take action,” the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief said. The Kerala Women’s Commission had also hit out at the court observation, with its chairperson P Satheedevi terming it “unfortunate” and said by making such references even before the evidence is presented and the trial is held, the court is effectively dismissing the allegations levelled by the complainant.