Bihar gangrape survivor granted bail

Court denies relief to 2 social workers helping the woman

July 17, 2020 05:51 pm | Updated 05:53 pm IST - Patna

Image for representation purpose only. (Illustration: Ritesh Kumar)

Image for representation purpose only. (Illustration: Ritesh Kumar)

Amid wide spread media outrage and concern from the legal fraternity across the country, the gangrape survivor from Araria in Bihar, who was arrested on the orders of a judicial magistrate while giving her statement about the incident, was granted bail on Friday. However, the Araria Chief Judicial Magistrate Anand Kumar Singh refused bail to two social workers, who had helped the woman and were arrested with her on July 10.

The 22-year-old survivor was allegedly gang-raped on July 6 after which she sought help from members of Jan Jagran Shakti Sanghtan (JJSS), an Araria-based NGO, with whom she was employed. An FIR was lodged at a women’s police station on July 9, accusing five men for sexually assaulting her. Only one of the men has been arrested so far.

On July 10, when the survivor was recording her statement before the Judicial Magistrate at the Araria District Court, she had requested that Tanmay Nivedita and Kalyani Badola from the JJSS, who had accompanied her to the court, be allowed to help her with her as she was unable to follow the proceedings. When Ms. Nivedita and Ms. Badola urged the judge explain the statement again, the judge got annoyed and ordered the police to take all three into custody. On the judge’s orders, a case was lodged against the three women under IPC sections for obstructing a public servant from discharge of duty, which is punishable with a prison term of two years. The police later sent all three to Dalsinghsarai jail in Samastipur district, 250 kms from Araria.

The JJSS had filed a bail petition for all three women on July 15. “The allegation of misbehaviour with the judge is exaggerated and not stated truthfully. The conduct of the court staff betrays a complete lack of sensitivity to the trauma faced by the survivor. We are dismayed that a desperate cry for help from the survivor was misinterpreted as a personal affront,” said Kamyani Swami of the JJSS.

“At the court, before the recording of the statement she was again asked to repeat the details of the crime and later made to stand in a corridor for over four hours where the accused was also standing. All of this led to the survivor eventually having a break down inside the court,” she added.

Following outrage in the media, the Araria District and Session Judge asked the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) to look into the matter.

“The court of CJM Anand Kumar Singh today heard the case and granted bail to the gang rape survivor on a PR bond while, it rejected bail to two caregivers Kalyani Badola and Tanmay Nivedita,” advocate Debu Sen appearing for the girl told The Hindu over phone.

In a statement, the JJSS said, “The bail was given to the survivor on a PR bond which creates a further problem of separation from her primary support persons. It is also putting her through a whole new trauma which is going to be caused by her guilt for being the cause of her support persons being in jail, probably one of the very few people she had trust in and who stood by her in her crisis.”

Lawyers seek action

Meanwhile 376 eminent lawyers across the country have denounced the arrest of the rape survivor. In a letter to the Chief Justice and other judges of the Patna High Court, they have called for “urgent and systematic changes in the treatment of survivors of violent sexual crimes in the Araria district court.”

Several woman organisations have also condemned the incident and demanded immediate release of the woman and her two caregivers.

“This must have happened for the first time in the State or the country where a gangrape victim was sent to jail along with her two caregivers…this is not justice,” Nivedita Jha, a wellknown activist from Patna told The Hindu .

Top News Today


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.