#Law and Her

Sexual Harassment Complaint Is ‘Invalid’ If Woman Was Wearing ‘Provocative Dress’: Kerala Court

Kerala Court Bail Order- Sexual Harassment
Every misdemeanor of men is justified by blaming women for their being. The recent bail order issued by Kozhikode Sessions court backs it well.

On August 12, Court granted anticipatory bail to social activist Civic Chandran in a sexual harassment case under section 354A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The Court remarked that the offence do not prima facie stand when the woman was wearing sexually provocative dresses. The order was passed based on the photographs of the survivor furnished by the accused.

Kerala Court Bail Order

On the photos submitted, judge S Krishna Kumar exclaimed, ‘the photographs would reveal that the de facto complainant is herself exposing to dresses that are sexually provocative. So, Section 354A will not prima facie stand against the accused.’ It is also noteworthy that the photographs submitted in Court were from the complainant’s social media account. 


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The Young female writer filed an FIR accusing Civic Chandran of sexual harassment. The incident occurred in a camp organised at Nandi beach in February 2020. Koyilandi police registered a case under Sections 354A (2), 341, and 354 of the Indian Penal Code. FIR in detail mentions the physical sexual advances. The Court observed that ‘from the wordings of Section 354, it is very clear that there must be an intention on the part of the accused for outraging the modesty of a woman. In order to attract this Section, there must be physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures. There must be a demand or request for sexual favours. There must be sexually coloured remarks.

Court also expressed disbelief that a 74-year-old man with physically disabled can forcefully put the de-facto complainant in his lap and sexually press her breast. Therefore, Court granted the bail. Court also found a problem in lodging an FIR as it was a wrong delay. Court asked the delay must be properly explained.

Previously, in the case of Aparna Bhat vs State of Madhya Pradesh 2021, Supreme Court (SC) quashed bail orders issued by MP High Court. SC addressed- the entrenched paternalistic and misogynistic attitudes in orders issued, especially in gendered sexual violence cases. SC slammed judges for crossing their limits while exercising their judicial discretion. Despite SC’s warning, the attitude remains somewhat the same while giving a judgment. The bails are granted without ensuring the safety of women. Coming back to the Civic Chandran case- A few weeks earlier, on August 2, in another sexual harassment case bail was granted. Chandran had been repeatedly accused of sexual offences, however, Court’s objectivity in such orders remains questionable.