Victim Should Not Be Used: Bombay High Court On #MeToo

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While hearing a defamation petition filed by Vikas Bahl seeking Rs 10 crore in damages from his former partners at Phantom Films, directors Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, and three media organisations, the Bombay High Court said that #MeToo movement is for victims of sexual harassment to speak up. Justice S J Kathawalla said that one should not misuse this movement.

Senior counsel Navroz Serwai, who was representing the woman who accused Bahl of sexual harassment said that she never wanted to participate in the litigation process. “The woman has had enough and she is still suffering at the hands of this man (Bahl) and she doesn’t want to be party to this case,” Serwai said, Indian Express reported.

The court has now asked Serwai to submit a written statement in the court by Tuesday.

Justice Kathawalla also said that if the woman does not want to fight the case then no one should talk about it. “She (the woman) should not be used by anyone. No one should fire from her shoulder. This movement is not for them, it is for the victim to come forward,” he said.

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The court said that there should be guidelines for such cases or there will be “abuse and misuse” of the movement and no one would know where it all leads up to. It suggested that the parties in the case should try to settle the case outside of court.

The woman has had enough and she is still suffering at the hands of this man (Bahl) and she doesn’t want to be party to this case.

Earlier, Bahl asked for an interim relief restraining his former partners at Phantom Films and others, including two media houses, from posting, publishing and republishing the allegedly defamatory articles about him on any medium. However, the court did not grant interim relief on the previous hearing. In fact, it ordered that the woman, who had accused Bahl, and the fourth partner of Phantom, Madhu Mantena, made parties to the case.

Bahl, in the civil suit that he filed through advocate Hitesh Jain,  has sought permanent injunction against Kashyap, Motwane and others restraining them from publishing “defamatory” articles, posts against him stating that they are “completely false, erroneous and defamatory in nature” having caused “irreparable harm, loss and damage” to his reputation.

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