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SC: Cross- Examining of Survivors of Assault Should Preferably Done in One Sitting

2 min read

Debangana Ray

Published on August 12, 2022 at 17:01 IST

The Supreme Court said that the proceedings in sexual harassment cases should not be made onerous for the survivor.

Instead it should be handled in a sensitive manner in one sitting without asking disrespectful and embarrassing questions.

The Bench comprising of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice J B Pardiwala said that the courts should be aware of the fact that the victim suffers from trauma and societal shame due to unwarranted stigma attached to her.

The Bench said, “It is the duty and responsibility of trial courts to deal with the aggrieved persons before them in an appropriate manner, by allowing proceedings to be conducted in camera, where appropriate, either under Section 327 CrPC or when the case otherwise involves the aggrieved person (or other witness) testifying as to their experience of sexual harassment/violence.”

It said the trial court should allow installation of a screen to ensure that the woman does not have to see the accused while testifying or the accused may be directed to leave the room while her testimony is being recorded.

The Court passed the order while ordering a probe into a sexual molestation complaint filed by a yoga instructor against the vice -chancellor of a Gwalior-based institute.

The woman approached the SC after the police had allegedly refused to file FIR and the judicial magistrate also did not order a probe into her claim.

The Court held that it is the duty of the police to register an FIR whenever a cognizable offence is made out in a complaint.