The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to two social activists who were jailed last month for supporting a gangrape complainant in Bihar’s Araria city, Live Law reported.
A bench led by Justice Arun Mishra noted that sending Tanmay Nivedita and Kalyani to jail was “totally impermissible”, according to ANI. The court also issued a notice to the Bihar government in the case.
The court directed the two activists to deposit Rs 10,000 as surety for the bail and ordered their release.
On July 10, a 22-year-old woman who filed a police complaint alleging gangrape in Araria and two social workers who had accompanied her to the court were arrested on charges of disrupting court proceedings. The woman had refused to sign a statement written on her behalf after she finished narrating to a magistrate how she had been raped by a group of men a few days ago. She said she could not read. She asked the judge to allow the statement to be read out to her, before she signed it.
Less than 30 minutes later, the complainant found herself being arrested, along with the two social workers who had accompanied her to the court to help and support her. The judge, she claimed, had called her a “pagal, badtameez ladki” – a crazy, ill-mannered girl – accused her and the social workers of arguing with him, and ordered their arrest.
After their arrest drew nationwide criticism, the rape complainant was finally granted bail and released from jail on July 17. But Tanmay and Kalyani, who have been charged with the same offences, were still in jail.
Five men had allegedly sexually assaulted the woman on July 6, after which she sought the help of Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan. Both Tanmay and Kalyani are members of Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan, a labour union working on a variety of workers’ rights and social justice issues in northern Bihar.
Following the arrests, nearly 400 lawyers had called for urgent and systematic changes in the treatment of survivors of violent sexual crimes. Many women’s rights organisations had also criticised the arrests.