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India: Letter from Lawyers to the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Patna High Court & other Judges - Need for urgent and systemic changes in the treatment of survivors of violent sexual crimes in the Araria District Court, Bihar

15 July

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15th July, 2020

To

Hon’ble the Chief Justice of Patna High Court and other Hon’ble Judges:

Subject: Need for urgent and systemic changes in the treatment of survivors of violent sexual crimes in the Araria District Court.

Lordships:

We, the undersigned are lawyers practising in different places across the country, who also believe in creating a robust criminal justice system, which is responsive to the needs of survivors of violent sexual crimes. We have received news of a very disturbing incident in distant Araria, and involving a 22-year-old, who was violently gang-raped on July 6th, and her two caregivers/friends. While recording her S.164 statement on July 10th, the learned magistrate perceived her disoriented state of mind as a personal affront and remanded her (and her two caregivers) into custody for contempt of court. The three have been remanded into judicial custody in Dalsinghsarai Jail, about 240Kms from Araria. The survivor’s details, including her father’s name and full address, have also been disclosed in the local press. The news reports cite the Court staff as having provided the details.

At this stage, we submit that even without going into the various versions of the event that will invariably be brought before your Lordships, there is a need to infuse the incident with some sensitivity and view it from that perspective: it was the fourth day since the incident of gangrape. The survivor ‘A’ was completely distraught and also very disoriented. She was not eating or sleeping, and also in physical pain. In the course of the four days, she had had to repeat her experience to sundry personnel, often only for voyeuristic purposes. She had been totally dependent, emotionally, on her caregivers since the incident, and they were also traumatized and exhausted. We respectfully submit that any perceived disrespect must be viewed from this perspective. Victims and their caregivers deserve extra care and sensitivity.

Rather than understanding the fragile state of the three people, they were first remanded to police custody. It may be pointed out that no Covid test was conducted on the survivor, even though she had been gang-raped by several strangers. Within hours, and while the three were in police custody, exaggerated accounts of what had transpired during the proceedings were reported on electronic media, together with complete details about the survivor, including her father’s name and her complete address. Shockingly, one such report also carries a photograph of the reporter sitting in the filing section and inspecting her file, with the court clerk and other staff looking on. [Annexure A]

The Reports published on July 11th in the local papers also state that no FIR has yet been filed in the ‘contempt case’. It was only at around 12:30PM on July 11th that two witnesses were asked to sign on a blank arrest memo and they were informed that FIR no. 61/2020, Araria Mahila Thana, had been filed under the Contempt of Courts Act, which is not applicable to the magistrate’s court; also under S.353 of the IPC (which is most implausible, even if we accept the facts at face value that the survivor had repeatedly demanded that the S.164 statement be read out to her by her caregiver and not by the learned magistrate since she could not understand him); Ss. 228 and 188 (both bailable). The three were produced in court and remanded into judicial custody to the District Jail in Dalsinghsarai, 240Kms away.

We submit that the remand into judicial custody is excessive and harsh given the circumstances. The survivor’s emotional state is extremely fragile and we fear that the separation from her caregivers and incarceration will have an adverse affect on her health.

It has also resulted in the original case pertaining to gangrape (FIR 59/2020, Araria Mahila Thana) having been put on the backburner, while all attention is focused on the alleged contempt. In popular perception too, the survivor is being maligned: ‘if she is ‘bold’ enough to raise her voice at the magistrate, then of course she is ‘bold’ enough to invite attention’. We pray that your Lordships intervene into the matter as it displays a complete lack of sensitivity to a victim of violent sexual crime and to her caregivers.

Signed by,

Sl. No. Name City/ Place of practice
1 Sr Adv Indira Jaising Delhi Supreme Court of India
2 Adv Prashant Bhushan New Delhi
3 Adv Vrinda Grover Delhi
4 Sr Adv Rebecca John Delhi
5 Sr Adv Mukul Talwar New Delhi
6 Sr Adv Basant Kumar Choudhary Patna High court
7 Adv N D Pancholi Delhi
8 Adv Ashok Agarwal Delhi
9 Sr Adv Gayatri Singh Bombay High Court
10 Adv Samir Ali Khan New Delhi
11 Adv Veena Gowda Mumbai
12 Adv Shomona Khanna Supreme Court of India
13 Adv Amit Anand Tiwari Supreme Court of India
14 Adv Sumita Hazarika New Delhi
15 Adv Susan Abraham Mumbai
16 Adv Rachana Joshi Issar Delhi
17 Adv Roma Malik New Delhi
18 Adv Indira Unninayyar Delhi / High Court / Supreme Court / Trial Courts
19 Adv Anubha Rastogi Mumbai
20 Adv Poonam Kaushik Delhi District courts
21 Adv Flavia Agnes Mumbai
22 Adv Vasudha Nagraj Hyderabad
23 Adv Sheela Ramanathan Bangalore
24 Adv Maharukh Adenwalla Mumbai
25 Adv Nousheen Yousuf Mumbai
26 Adv Nabeela Tareen Srinagar
27 Adv Nanita Sharma New Delhi
28 Adv Stanley John Trivandrum
29 Adv Vinay K Sreenivasa Bangalore
30 Adv Maitreyi Krishnan Bangalore
31 Adv Raghavendra Kumar Delhi
32 Adv Lara Jesani Mumbai
33 Adv Mangla Verma New Delhi
34 Adv Cheryl D’Souza Delhi
35 Adv Apar Gupta Delhi
36 Adv Pyoli Swatija Delhi
37 Adv Piyush Kumar Pandey Advocate on Record, Patna High Court
38 Adv Bijaya Chanda Alipore Court, West Bengal
39 Adv Shalini Gera High Court of Chhattisgarh at Bilaspur
40 Adv Isha Khandelwal Bombay
41 Adv Nikita Agarwal New Delhi
42 Arunima Bhattacharjee New Delhi
43 Anand Darshan New Delhi
44 Bulbul Das New Delhi
45 Mary Mitzy Mayne New Delhi
46 Nazia Parveen New Delhi
47 Omanakuttan K K New Delhi
48 Adv Payal Gaikwad New Delhi
49 Ishita Yadu Lucknow
50 Raja Rabbi Hussain New Delhi
51 Veena Gowda Mumbai
52 Shahab Ahmad New Delhi
53 Bhoomika D. Pandhare Thane
54 Eklavya Vasudev New Delhi
55 Burjis Shabir New Delhi
56 Adv Ekta Verma New Delhi
57 Tanya Sharma New Delhi
58 Amit kumar New Delhi
59 Remya Raj New Delhi
60 Ayush New Delhi
61 Chandan Kumar New Delhi
62 Dipika Sahani Mumbai
63 Bharathan Chandrasekaran Delhi University
64 Dhananjay Varanasi
65 Sagarika Parab Mumbai
66 Priyamwada Sinha New Delhi
67 Abdul Gaffar Advocate Delhi
68 Raghav Kacker Delhi
69 Kumaresh Trivedi Ahmedabad
70 Shailza Chandigarh
71 Prachi Jain Delhi
72 Amala Dasarathi New Delhi
73 Abu Nasar Patna High Court
74 Khushboo Pareek New Delhi
75 Annie Jain Guwahati/Bombay
76 Nand Kumar Sagar Patna
77 Prajwal K Aradhya Bangalore
78 Samhita Mehra Mumbai
79 Sangram Chinnappa Bombay
80 Bhakta Patnaik Mumbai
81 Aditi Himachal Pradesh
82 Priyanka shukla Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh
83 Pranav arora Delhi
84 Zarif Noida
85 Rachna Bahadur Advocate New Delhi
86 Afreen Khan Mumbai
87 Philarisa Nongpiur New Delhi
88 Rashmi Priya Mumbai
89 Anunay arsh Delhi
90 Vidushi Sood Chandigarh
91 Adv Rahul Shrivastava M P Highcourt, Jabalpur
92 Puja New Delhi
93 Poorna R Bangalore
94 Reena Rao Delhi
95 Sneh Lata Delhi
96 Shivani Purohit New Delhi
97 Shreshtha Das Delhi
98 Namrata Kabra Maharashtra and Goa
99 Rudrajit Ghosh Delhi NCR
100 Deo Narayan Sen Araria
101 Ashok Mishra Araria
102 Geeta Sajjanshetty Kalaburagi
103 Arun Kunar Araria
104 Divya Jyoti Sen Araria
105 Ananya Mukherjee Delhi
106 Akshansh Ankit Patna
107 Nidhi Rani Mumbai
108 Rajni Soren Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh High Court
109 Syed Tabeer Riyaz Delhi
110 Ishani New Delhi
111 Pranav Menon Advocate, Delhi
112 Ad. Suresh rathaur Varanasi
113 Rakesh Shukla Delhi
114 Tanvi Delhi-NCR
115 Sandhya Delhi
116 Poorva Chandigarh
117 Muskan Singhal Chandigarh
118 Liz Mathew New Delhi
119 Shobha Delhi
120 Divya Srinivasan Delhi
121 Agam Sharma New Delhi
122 Amber Fatmi Delhi
123 Surya Sanjay Bangalore
124 Abhiti Delhi
125 Anupradha Singh, Advocate Supreme Court of India, Delhi
126 Harshad Delhi
127 Zarif Noida
128 Dushyant X Delhi
129 Piyush Ranjan Patna/Patna High Court
130 Shivani Mamgain Uttarakhand
131 Jeevika S Delhi
132 Rahul Maurya Delhi
133 Alpana malik New delhi
134 Disha Kharbanda New Delhi
135 Disha Wadekar Delhi
136 Gayatri Suman Bilaspur , chattisgarh
137 Shubhangi Singh Lucknow
138 Mohammad Saad Khan High Court of Delhi
139 Abeera Dubey Mumbai
140 Qaseem Lucknow
141 Shalu Nigam Delhi
142 Rustam Kuraishi Delhi
143 Kartavi Delhi
144 Ishwari nishad advocate Mahasamund
145 Shraddha Hyderabad
146 Shruti Delhi
147 Tanika Chandna Delhi
148 Warisha Farasat New delhi
149 Siddhartha Basu Delhi/Bangalore
150 Shantanu Delhi
151 Harsh Parashar New Delhi
152 Soumya Mehrotra Delhi
153 Sohail Delhi
154 Kamlesh Kumar Mishra Supreme court of India
155 Aarushi mahajan Delhi
156 Adv Priyanka singh Delhi,Saket court
157 Amita joseph New delhi
158 SHYNA P A High Court of Kerala
159 Kshatrshal Raj Delhi/Supreme Court of India
160 Ritika chatterjee Karnataka
161 Irshaan S. Kakar New Delhi/ Chandigarh
162 Nishant Kumar Patna and Delhi
163 Rachita Padwal Mumbai
164 Kunal tiwary Patna high court
165 Nayantara Roy Delhi
166 Alka verma Patna high court
167 Ranjana Vohra Delhi
168 Saptashwa Singh Patna High Court
169 Pulkit Prakash New Delhi
170 Dev Thrissur
171 Shubhashish Sharma MUMBAI
172 Aishwarya Nabb Delhi
173 Lubna Naaz Supreme Court of India, Delhi
174 Harleen kaur New Delhi and Punjab
175 Vivek Menon Mumbai
176 Parijata Bhardwaj Delhi
177 Devika.S Chennai
178 Aditi Mumbai
179 Abhishek Nath Tripathi New Delhi
180 Ujjaini Chatterji Delhi and Bombay
181 A.J. Jawad Madras High Court
182 R Vigneshwar Madras HC
183 Adv Mini Mathew Mumbai
184 Leena Menghaney New Delhi
185 Vishal Bhatia Delhi
186 Shiv Bansal Delhi
187 Rahul Beruar Delhi
188 Rudrajyoti Nath Ray New Delhi, Kolkata
189 Snigdha Tiwari High Court Nainital
190 Karishma Maria New Delhi
191 P C Tewari Almora
192 Chandni Chawla Mumbai
193 Malavika Parthasarathy Bangalore
194 Nikita Sonavane Bhopal
195 Ameya Bokil Bhopal
196 Radhika Delhi
197 Wasif Rahman Khan Patna high court
198 Ankit Kulkarni Bombay High Court
199 Talib Mustafa Patna/ High Court of Judicature at Patna
200 Deepika Faridabad
201 Adv Santosh Kumar Yadav Patna civil court
202 Monika Delhi
203 Runjun Dutta Law Student
204 Hemant Ingle Mumbai
205 S.Meenakshi Chennai
206 Anshuman Upadhyay Delhi
207 Sayed Imran Ghani Civil court patna
208 Zaman Ali Mumbai
209 Aditi Gupta New Delhi
210 Mohit Singh DELHI
211 Mitul Singh Rana Hoshiarpur
212 Siddharth Seem New Delhi
213 Gayatri Sharma Delhi
214 Kumar Shashank Shekher Delhi
215 Anne Panicker Mumbai
216 Lousy George Chennai
217 Prarthna Nanda Mumbai
218 Saumya Delhi
219 Anuj kumar roy Civil court hazaribag
220 Adv Khemchand R Koshti Guj. High Court, Ahmedabad
221 Brijesh Jasvantray Trivedi Ahmedabad
222 Saurabh Bishwambhar Patna High Court
223 Radhika Kolluru Delhi High Court
224 Meera Sanghamitra Hyderabad
225 Kamal Kishor Patna
226 Brajesh Kumar Delhi
227 Nawal kishor Koderma
228 Md Modassir Shams Patna
229 Nishant Sirohi New Delhi
230 A P Josy Sakti, Dt Janjgir-Champa, Chhattisgarh
231 Saumya Maheshwari Delhi
232 Deepak Singh Delhi High Court
233 Prathibha S Delhi
234 Tarun Agarwal New Delhi
235 Anoop Kumaran Thrissur, Keralam
236 Roma New Delhi
237 Anupam Kirti Delhi
238 Malar GP Delhi
239 Govind Delhi
240 Sumeet Kumar singh Patna High Court
241 Anurag Bindal New Delhi
242 Shivangi Rai New Delhi
243 Manali Singhal Delhi
244 Nandini Mitra High Court at Calcutta
245 Aditya Kumar New Delhi
246 Adv Savita Ali Session Court Patna
247 Mohd Shaqir Hussain Jammu
248 Madhurima Kolkata
249 Dharmendra Kumar Mishra Delhi
250 P. Kumar Delhi.
251 Renuka Sahu New Delhi
252 Angkit Bharadwaj Guwahati
253 Liyi New Delhi
254 Manshi Jaiswal Lucknow
255 Ritika chatterjee Karnataka
256 Praavita Delhi
257 Somesh Chandra Jha Delhi
258 Priyanka Patna
259 Sachin Delhi
260 Bharti Ali New Delhi
261 Manju Sharma Patna High Court
262 Aryan Batra Kolkata
263 Ritika chatterjee Karnataka
264 Iman Calcuttawala (Ms.) Mumbai/Bombay High Court
265 Anuvinda New Delhi
266 Ankur Gulyani Panda New Delhi
267 Adv. Ijas Muhammed Kottayam
268 Preeti Dash Delhi
269 Megha Mehta Bombay
270 Ritika chatterjee Karnataka
271 NS Tanvi Chennai
272 Aarushi mahajan Delhi
273 Sayanti Kolkata
274 Harsh Bora New Delhi
275 Adv. Suraj Sanap Bombay
276 Ashish Kumar Delhi
277 Adv Nasreen Khan Calcutta High Court
278 Shreyashi Sharma Delhi
279 Sagrika Semwal Delhi
280 Rudraksh Delhi
281 Nikhilesh Mumbai
282 Adv Sheik Moulali Basha Supreme Court Of India
283 Aman Golechha Mumbai
284 Shashwat Delhi
285 Persis Sidhva Mumbai
286 Aniket Aggarwal New Delhi
287 Ashutosh Kumar Mishra Delhi
288 Sukriti Khurana New Delhi
289 Kezhosano Kikhi Kohima
290 Sindhu Saikrishnan Bangalore
291 Adv Jacinta Saldanha Mumbai
292 Sumi Ann Varkey Kottayam
293 Mansi Sood Delhi
294 Farhat Mumbai
295 Vishnu Delhi
296 Nishant Sirohi New Delhi
297 Avani Chokshi Bangalore
298 Pradeep Mandhyan Mumbai
299 Kaustubh Gidh Mumbai
300 Adv Akhil Joshi Delhi
301 Vivekananda N India
302 Haridya Delhi
303 Radhika Kolluru Delhi High Court
304 Mandeep singh Chandigarh
305 Siddhartha Delhi
306 Renu Mishra Lucknow
307 Asha singh Gurgaon
308 Prerana Priyanshu Chennai
309 Adv. Shruti Narayan Delhi
310 Steffi Mumbai
311 Asha Rodiyal Mumbai
312 A.J. Jawad Madras High Court
313 Margaret Dsouza Mumbai
314 Adv.Mallika Verma Mumbai
315 RUKHSANA CHOUDHURY DELHI
316 Deependra Kumar Mishra Pratapgarh
317 Jacqueline Mumbai
318 Nupur Raut Mumbai
319 Payoshi Bombay
320 Ragini A Mumbai
321 Adv. Jahangir Alam Delhi
322 Yuvraj Rathore New Delhi
323 Babu K Y Kanyakumari
324 Ranvir Singh Delhi
325 Adv. Chitra Sundar Mumbai
326 Ipshita Bhuwania Mumbai
327 Adv Shivani Bhate Mumbai
328 Naomi Chandra New delhi
329 Adv. Sheeba paul Mumbai
330 K. Padma Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh
331 Anupchand K Minj Guwahati
332 Adv Ritu Rajkumari New Delhi
333 Adv. Mani Gupta New Delhi
334 Prerna Raj Delhi
335 Som Dutta Sharma Delhi
336 Adv Richa verma Delhi
337 Adv Payal Gaikwad Delhi
338 Theresia Parakkadan Mumbai
339 Ikshaku Bezbaroa Bangalore
340 Shantanu Delhi
341 Adv. Kokila Parmar Delhi
342 Adv. Roshni shah Nashik
343 Anjana Gosain New Delhi
344 Shalini Nair New Delhi
345 Kirti Singh Delhi
346 Shubham Kaushal Mumbai
347 Tanvi mane Mumbai
348 Narender Delhi
349 Adv K. Gayatri Pune
350 Vivek Menon Mumbai
351 Harleen Singh New Delhi
352 Bidisha Mahanta Assam
353 Arul Bangalore
354 MV Swaroop Chennai
355 Urmi Chudgar Delhi
356 Manishaa Thakur Delhi
357 Adv Kriti Kakkar Delhi
358 Sudha Ambastha Patna High Court
359 Milinda Sharma New Delhi
360 Clara Guwahati
361 Aditi Kumar New Delhi
362 Shashibala Verma Patna High Court
363 Sumita Kapil New Delhi
364 Pushpa Sinha Patna High Court
365 Rahul Vardhan Mumbai
366 Nalinu Delhi
367 Fidel Sebastian Delhi
368 Rohan Seth Delhi
369 Irfan Engineer Mumbai
370 Kruthika NS Bengaluru
371 Olullah Laskar Guwahati
372 Adv Kaushik Gupta Kolkata
373 Sarada Mahesh Bengaluru
374 Anirban Tarafder Kolkata
375 Md. Alauddin Barrackpore Court, Kolkata
376 Falakyar Askari The High Court of Judicature at Patna