A victim of sexual harassment from Paravur was allegedly subjected to mental harassment later by making her confront the accused on the High Court premises.
The victim was summoned to the chambers of a High Court judge after the anticipatory bail plea of the man who allegedly attacked her came up before the Court. While she was waiting to meet the judge, she was approached by the accused, his lawyer, a government pleader, and the staff of her own lawyer.
The group allegedly surrounded the traumatised victim and accused her of making up a false case for business gain. “Even as the judge was sitting in his chamber, I was cornered by the man who attacked me and all the lawyers. They accused me of filing a fake complaint and pressured me to opt for a settlement,” the woman wrote in a complaint to the office of the Advocate-General and Director General of Prosecution of the High Court.
Director General of Prosecution Asaf Ali T said he had received the complaint and would look into the matter very seriously. The victim, meanwhile, has also written to the Women’s Commission about the incident.
The 40-year-old victim, an agent with an insurance company in the city, was allegedly assaulted by a fellow agent in the lift of the company’s office on May 23, 2013. She filed a complaint before her employers the next day and said she would not take the case to the police if her attacker apologised. While the accused admitted before company officials that he had assaulted the woman, he refused to give a written apology as demanded by the victim.
The woman, a mother of two teenagers, then saw no option but to file a police case. After the anticipatory bail plea of the accused came up for hearing, the victim received a letter summoning her in person to the court. It is usual practice for affected parties in cases of domestic disputes to be summoned before the judge to discuss the issues for a possible settlement.
“Though this was a criminal case, the victim and accused may have been called to discuss a settlement as the FIR mentioned that she had initially been willing to close the issue with an apology,” said her lawyer. When she arrived at the Court, however, the accused was already there and so were all the lawyers involved in the case.
“I was under a lot of stress and was undergoing psychiatric treatment after I was assaulted. So I had made it very clear to my lawyer that I was not interested in a settlement and that my attacker should not approach me,” she said.
Under the questions and accusations from the lawyers, the woman shouted out and left the building. Days after the incident, she is yet to come to terms with the fact that she was cornered a second time, right inside the High Court building.