Remarks made by former Kerala High Court Judge R. Basant and captured by a Malayalam TV channel, where he describes the Suryanelli sex scandal victim as one who was “used for child prostitution,” have created a furore.
In footage televised on Saturday, the former judge, who delivered the January 2005 High Court judgment in the case acquitting 35 out of the 36 accused, says: “She was used for child prostitution. Child prostitution is not rape. It is immoral. I am not blaming her... It is all there in my judgment.”
Referring to the victim, Mr. Basant adds: “This girl is said to be in captivity. [Yet] she is taken to a doctor for a sore throat. How can her captors do such a thing? Everything is there in the judgment. Please read the judgment.”
Mr. Basant, who currently practises in the Supreme Court, was caught on camera while engaged in a personal conversation with two guests before delivering an address at a national seminar on ‘Whither India’ at Thunchan Paramba in Tirur. The comments seem to have been caught on a camera that was held at a low angle, possibly not in full view of its subjects.
“Here is a girl who is not normal, who is deviant. All this is there in the judgment,” he held forth.
He says the Supreme Court had not read the High Court judgment and that was why it had expressed shock over the 2005 judgment.
On January 31, 2013, the Supreme Court ordered the High Court to hear the appeal afresh. Mr. Basant had delivered the verdict along with fellow judge K.A. Abdul Ghafoor.
Mr. Basant had earlier declined to comment about the case when mediapersons corralled him with questions.
“You read the judgment. Everything is in it,” he had told reporters.
He later described the television broadcast of his remarks “unethical and shameful.”