Former High Court judge R. Basant found himself at the receiving end of protests by youth and women’s organisations when he came to attend a function at the District and Sessions Court here on Saturday.
Activists of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) and the All India Lawyers Union (AILU) staged protests against the former judge here in the afternoon condemning his reported remarks on the victim of the Suryanelli sex scandal case.
The AIDWA and DYFI workers gathered outside the court premises carrying placards and black flags before his arrival to attend a function organised by the Thalassery Court Bar Association.
Police personnel were deployed at the venue of the function in view of the protests sparked by his alleged remarks telecast by a news channel earlier on Saturday. The police removed the protesters when they tried to block the vehicle of another judge which the protesters mistook to be that of Mr. Basant.
Later, an attempt by the protesters to enter the court complex was also foiled by the police. Mr. Basant entered the hall through the backdoor. The AILU activists greeted the former judge with protest. The police removed the protesting lawyers.
Speaking at the function, Mr. Basant lashed out at the media for what he called unethical practices some media outlets followed. He said he was subjected to unethical media activity by the news channel.
He said he had told the reporter who talked to him that anybody critical of his judgment in the Suryanelli case should read his verdict. Commercialisation of journalism was crossing all its limits, he said.
Talking to reporters at a press meet in Kannur on Saturday, former Minister and Communist Party of India (Marxist) central committee member P.K. Sreemathy termed ‘outlandish’ the reported remarks by Mr. Basant allegedly disparaging the victim of the Suryanelli sex scandal case.
She said Mr. Basant should be removed from his post as senior advocate in the apex court.
Ms. Sreemathy said all women’s organisations would come together to express their protest by burning Mr. Basant in effigy and boycotting all his programmes.
As per Mr. Basant’s remarks, the victim who was tormented for 40 days was named a wrongdoer, while those who had assaulted her were hailed as people with a high civic and moral sense, Ms. Sreemathy said, adding that his disclosures raised doubts about his basic knowledge of legal matters.
“If it is child prostitution, how could those who had colluded in this act be exempted from punishment, she asked, terming it “character assassination of the poor victim”.
The CPI(M) leader also demanded an immediate re-probe into the alleged involvement of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien in the case. Connivance between the judiciary, executive and administration was suspected in the urgency to acquit Mr. Kurien of all the allegations, even while the Chief Minister reiterated that there would be no further investigation against Mr. Kurien in the case, she said.