Judge defends Suryanelli rape verdict

Judge defends Suryanelli rape verdict

Justice R Basant, one of the two judges of the Kerala High Court division bench which acquitted of 35 accused in the Suryanelli serial-rape case, said on Saturday that had the Supreme Court had read the full text of their judgment in the case, it would not have been shocked.

“Those who haven’t read the judgment, they’ll be shocked,” he said defending the verdict he handed in the case.

The apex court has expressed shock and surprise over the division bench order which it subsequently set aside.

In an interview to a Malayalam news channel on Saturday, which he later maintained had been recorded with a hidden camera, Basant said no evidence proving that the girl had been raped, was presented before the court.

He said that there was proof that the girl had been used in child prostitution. “Child prostitution is not rape,” he said.

The retired judge also said that the girl had been deviant from childhood. According to him, there was ample proof to show that the girl had not been in captivity of the rapists as she argued in her petition.

She had been taken to a doctor for throat infection at the time of her alleged captivity, but she did not report it to the doctor.He said that the judgment had been written by judge Abdul Gafoor, the other judge on the bench, and he had fully backed his observation and findings.

Though the judge later told PTI that he refused to speak on camera and had a casual conversation on the case where he merely quoted from the judgment, the comment caused shock and anger amongst activists and political leaders in the state. 

CPI leader Anie Raja demanded that the judge withdraw the remarks and apologise.DYFI activists waved black flag at Basant at Thalassesry where he arrived to address a seminar in the evening.

A section of lawyers who turned up for the seminar shouted slogans against him and boycotted the function.At several places, including Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram, organisations took out marches in protest against his remark.

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