[“Provocative Dress” Order] Judge Moves Kerala High Court against his Transfer to Labour Court

Priya Gour

Published on: August 30, 2022 at 18:43 IST

Additional District and Sessions Judge, Kozhikode S Krishnakumar has moved before the Kerala High Court, challenging his recent transfer to Labour Court in Kollam. A recent judgment delivered by him pertaining to a sexual assault case was brought to light.

He had held in the judgement that a sexual harassment case would not stand if the victim was wearing a “sexually provocative dress”. This led to a controversy over the said order, which the judge claims to have led to his transfer.

The Kerala High Court termed it as a routine transfer in which other judicial officers and three other judges have also been transferred.

Civic Chandran was charged with committing offences punishable under Sections 354 A(2), 341 and 354 of the Indian Penal Code.

He was alleged to have forcefully embraced the complainant and asked her to sit on his lap. The accused also touched the breast of the woman, outraging her modesty, at a social function in 2020.

The judge granted bail to Activist Civic Chandran in a sexual harassment case by holding that there must be some unwelcome sexual advances to attract IPC 354A. However, the court held that the complainant was seen as “exposing herself in provocative dresses” in her photographs.

“In order to attract this Section, there must be a physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures. There must be a demand or request for sexual favours. There must be sexually coloured remarks.”

“The photographs produced along with the bail application by the accused would reveal that defacto complainant herself is exposing to dresses which are having some sexual provocative one (sic).”

The order was widely criticised, including by the legal fraternity, which called for need of sensitization. The High Court had later stayed the order, after an appeal by the State government.

The High Court Bench of Justice Anu Sivaraman will hear the matter today, that is, August 30.

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