The Kerala government on Friday moved the High Court challenging a sessions court order granting anticipatory bail to author Civic Chandran in an alleged sexual harassment case, The New Indian Express reported.

A court in Kozhikode had on August 2 granted anticipatory bail to Chandran in a case in which a Dalit woman writer had accused him of attempting to molest her. The author was booked under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code as well as provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

However, Kozhikode Sessions Judge K Krishna Kumar on August 2 had said that in order for the Atrocities Act to be applicable, the accused person would have to know that the woman belonged to a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe.

The Kerala government, in its appeal seeking to set aside the order, said that the sessions judge’s finding that Chandran did not know that the woman was from a Scheduled Caste was against the facts of the case. It said that the question as to whether the author knew about her caste could be answered only after interrogating him.

The state government said that the investigation carried out till now has shown that the allegations against Chandran are true and added that his interrogation in custody was required. The government also contended in the appeal that the sessions court should have considered the possibility that a delay in filing the complaint may have taken place as the woman was in a state of mental trauma, according to The New Indian Express.

In its order, the judge had said that offences under the Atrocities Act would not prima facie stand against the 74-year-old as it “is highly unbelievable that he will touch the body of the victim fully knowing that she is member of Scheduled Caste”.

The judge added that considering the author’s age and health condition, it could not be believed that he kissed the woman’s back without her consent. The court also referred to photographs that purportedly showed that Chandran and the Dalit woman writer were on “cordial terms”, and said that there was a dispute between them about the publication of a literary piece written by her.

The author is also facing another case of alleged sexual harassment, in which a woman accused him of sexually harassing her on a beach in February 2020. He got anticipatory bail in the second case on August 12.

A Kozhikode sessions court, while granting him pre-arrest bail, had observed that Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code (outraging of a woman’s modesty) would not be applicable if the woman was wearing a “sexually provocative dress”.