A court in Araria in Bihar granted bail to a 22-year-old woman who filed a police complaint alleging gangrape, but had been arrested for allegedly disrupting court proceedings on July 10, The Hindu reported on Friday. But Araria Chief Judicial Magistrate Anand Kumar Singh refused bail to two social workers who had helped the woman, and had been arrested with her.
“The court of CJM Anand Kumar Singh today heard the case and granted bail to the gang rape survivor on a PR bond [Personal Recognizance Bond] while, it rejected bail to two caregivers Kalyani Badola and Tanmay Nivedita,” A PR bond is a bond by which the defendant is allowed to be released without any deposit or collateral.
Five men had allegedly sexually assaulted the woman on July 6, after which she sought the help of Jan Jagran Shakti Sanghtan, an Araria-based non-governmental organisation. A first information report was filed at a women’s police station on July 9, but only one of the accused has been arrested so far.
The Jan Jagran Shakti Sanghtan said in a statement on Friday that the bail gr anted on a PR bond creates a further problem of separation of the woman from her support persons. “It is also putting her through a whole new trauma which is going to be caused by her guilt, for being the cause of her support persons being in jail, probably one of the very few people she had trust in and who stood by her in her crisis,” the organisation said.
On July 10, when the woman went to the district court to record her statement, the social workers were not allowed to be with her in the magistrate’s chamber. During the proceedings, the woman gave her oral statement to the court but allegedly refused to sign a written statement, demanding that Badola and the other social workers be allowed to read the statement first. Badola and Nivedita later attempted to intervene and help her.
Both the social workers as well as the woman were then arrested on charges of disrupting court proceedings and using foul language towards court officials. They have been booked under several sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to preventing public servants from carrying out their duty, as well as sections of the Contempt of Courts Act.
Lawyers write to Patna High Court against arrests of women
Meanwhile, 376 lawyers across the country have denounced the arrests of the complainant and the two social workers, The Hindu reported. They wrote a letter to Patna High Court Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and other judges, demanding “urgent and systematic changes in the treatment of survivors of violent sexual crimes in the Araria district court.” Many women’s organisations also condemned the incident and demanded the release of the three individuals.
“This must have happened for the first time in the State or the country where a gangrape victim was sent to jail along with her two caregivers…this is not justice,” Nivedita Jha, a women’s rights activist from Patna said.