The Kerala High Court on Wednesday put a stay on the Kozhikode sessions court order granting an anticipatory bail to author Civic Chandran in a sexual harassment case, Live Law reported.
On August 12, the lower court judge had observed that the law about outraging a woman’s modesty will not apply if she wears a “sexually provocative dress”.
On Monday, the Kerala government had moved the High Court seeking to set aside the order, saying that it was “illegal, unjust and could cause trauma to the complainant”.
The sessions court judge S Krishna Kumar has also been transferred and made the presiding officer of the Labour Court in Kollam district, Live Law reported on Wednesday. A High Court notification said that the move is part of the routine transfer and posting of judicial officers.
In his judgement, Kumar held that there was insufficient evidence to prove the charges of sexual harassment against Chandran.
The court was hearing a case in which Chandran was booked for harassing a woman on Nandy beach in February 2020.
It was also impossible to believe that the 74-year-old author, who is physically challenged, could forcefully pull the woman into his lap and “sexually press her breast”, the judge had said.
The order sparked outrage, with the National Commission of Women chairperson Rekha Sharma saying the “court has overlooked the far-reaching consequences” of such comments.
On Wednesday, the High Court bench led by Justice Kauser Edappagath said that Kumar’s observations that the Indian Penal Code Section 354 is not applicable to the complainant “cannot be justified”, Live Law reported.
“Irrelevant material are seen relied upon for granting the bail,” Justice Edappagath ruled.
This was the second sexual harassment case filed against Chandran this year. In July, a Dalit woman writer had accused the author of allegedly attempting to molest her.
Chandran 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.