Sexual harassment charge will not prima facie stand when woman is wearing ‘sexually provocative’ dress: Kerala Court

Kerala Court on Wednesday observed that Section 354 A of the Indian Penal Code (sexual harassment) will not prima facie be attracted if a woman was wearing “sexually provocative” dress.

The order was issued by Kozhikode Sessions Court while granting bail to 74-year-old social activist Civic Chandran in sexual harassment case on 12 August.

The court order read, “The photographs produced along with the bail application by the accused would reveal that the defacto complainant herself is wearing a dress which is sexually provocative. So Section 354A will not prima facie stand against the accused. Even admitting that there was physical contact it is impossible to believe that a man aged 74 and physically disabled can forcefully put the defacto complainant in his lap.”

The court was hearing a 8 February, 2020 case where the accused along with the complainant and some other people were camping at Nandi Beach. The accused had allegedly caught the hands of the defacto complainant and forcefully took her to a lonely place. He asked the defacto complainant to sit on his lap. Thereafter, he tried to outrage her modesty.

The Koyilandy police registered the case for offences under Sections 354A(2), 341 and 354 of IPC.

The defence said that it was a cooked-up case. The alleged incident happened in February 2020 case while the case was registered on 29 July, 2022.