Bengaluru: In a strongly-worded open letter to Karnataka HC judge Justice Krishna S Dixit, 17 organisations and over 20 journalists have criticised his recent judgment in which he observed a woman falling asleep after getting ravished was “unbecoming of an Indian woman.”
The letter signed by prominent citizens like historian Ramachandra Guha, economist Cavery Bopaiah, journalist Sharda Ugra, singer-actor-filmmaker MD Pallavi and others said the judge’s order took a “very narrow, patriarchal and prejudiced view of women.”
It is indeed a matter of shame such an order coming from within the portals of the Karnataka HC sets the Indian judiciary and the struggle of women’s rights movements back by decades, it said.
The letter called upon Justice Dixit and the ‘higher echelons of the judiciary’ to take suitable action to “self correct this blatant violation of women’s rights and dignity apart from the violation of the Constitution.” “We call upon you to expunge these toxic and misogynistic statements from the order and deliver one based on law and not on prejudice. We call upon you to prove the judiciary in fact does stand by women and all concerned citizens of India in their struggle to build a more equitable, just and democratic society shows zero tolerance to violence against women and all marginalised genders.”
The letter added the judge’s observation was deeply disturbing and disappointed “those who have been working over the past decades to uproot the discriminatory structures of patriarchy deeply embedded into all our social and political systems including the judiciary.”
In the controversial judgement, the judge had said the complainant’s explanation she was tired and had fallen asleep after the sexual assault is “unbecoming of an Indian woman; that is not the way our women react when they are ravished.” The judge also found it strange and intriguing the woman had stayed out late in her office at 11 pm and had “stayed till morning” with her alleged perpetrator. The judge noted she had “consumed drinks and sat in the car” with the accused. “The fact of the matter remains despite all the efforts women who make decisions to live independently and make choices about own lives, including intimate, sexual lives are still viewed as women with ‘loose morals and character’,” the letter said.