Payal Tadvi suicide case sparked a conversation around caste in this country. Three doctors, Ankita Khandelwal, Hema Ahuja and Bhakti Mehare, had been accused of harassing Tadvi which pushed her to end her life. On 8th October, the Supreme Court of India relaxed the various restrictions that had been imposed on the accused by the Bombay High Court. They have been allowed to pursue their PG in BYL Nair Hospital in Mumbai. This has sparked a series of protests outside Nair Hospital, led by Payal Tadvi’s family and local people. Advocate and Bahujan Activist Prakash Ambedkar took to Twitter to slam this decision by the Supreme Court. #justiceofdrpayal also started trending on Twitter and conversation about caste-based privilege is in the limelight.
Allowing the 3 accused doctors in the institutional murder of Dr. Payal Tadvi to enter the college for carrying on their life as usual is a travesty of justice. The impunity and unaccountability of people accused of caste based violence is utterly shameful. #JusticeForDrPayal
— Prakash Ambedkar (@Prksh_Ambedkar) October 11, 2020
Conditions for Pursuing Education
The Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices U U Lalit, Vineet Saran and Ajay Rastogi, have laid down guidelines under which they can pursue their education. The accused cannot reside in the resident facilities at the Nair hospital. Furthermore, they have to appear for all court dates and they shall make no attempt to influence any witness. The Apex court insisted that since there is the rule of presumption of innocence, the accused are presumed to be innocent. Hence, as a part of their Fundamental Rights they have the right to pursue further education as long as it does not hinder with due process of law.
This decision comes despite staunch opposition from, the Maharashtra Government, Mumbai Police and even Payal Tadvi’s mother Abeda Tadvi. The opposition feels allowing the accused to return to college would hamper with the trial and prosecution. Despite this the Supreme Court has allowed the accused to pursue higher education.
Why This Matters?
We live in a country that is hesitant to acknowledge caste and caste-based discrimination. The move by the Apex court is hailed to be in favour of the accused who belong to upper caste. The conversation sparked by the suicide of Dr Tadvi and the Hathras Gangrape case has been for stricter measure in caste-based crimes, especially violence against women. In such a scenario, does this order by the Supreme Court derails the fight that has been waging for so long?