Legal Correspondent: TIASHA SINHA RAY
Recently, the incident of IIT-Guwahati has caused a stir across the country. This has particularly affected the youth. The incident happened on the night of 28th march. A student of IIT-Guwahati accused of raping a fellow student after forced her to take alcohol and caused her to lose consciousness. She was found unconscious outside of her hostel. She was brought to Guwahati Medical College Hospital. After waking up she told the authorities that she was sexually assaulted. Assam police arrested the prime accused Utsav Kadam on 3rd April.
On 23rd August, the Guwahati High Court granted bail to the accused student calling both of them "the state's future assets". The order on 13th August noted, "However, as the investigation in the case is completed, and both the informant/victim girl and the accused are the state’s future assets, being talented students pursuing technical courses at the I.I.T., Guwahati, who are young in the age group of 19 to 21 years only, and further, they are being hailed from two different states, continuation of detention of the accused in the interest of trial of the case, if charges are framed, may not be necessary.”
Not only that, Justice Ajit Borthakur said there was 'clear prima facie case' against the accused student. The statement added, "On hearing the counsel for both sides with reference to the relevant documents such as FIR, medical report and statements under Sections 161 and 164 CrPC, the contents of the charge-sheet, the Fact-Finding Committee report etc., there is a clear prima facie case as alleged against the accused petitioner".
After this judgment of Guwahati High Court, over 60 students and alumni of various IITs noted that it is a "extremely distressing development that threatens the notion that the country has made any progress vis-a-vis gender equality and Justice".
Such exemptions, when granted to alleged perpetrators of sexual violence, severely damage the severity of these crimes and reinforce the notion that anyone can turn away from these acts and look forward to their “bright future”.
The group has also demanded that the specific ground for granting bail to the accused should be "reconsider".
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