SC seeks ATR on Thane breast-chopping incident

SC seeks ATR on Thane breast-chopping incident

Court moves on PIL based on media reports

Taking cognisance of an outrageous story of a 23-year-old woman’s breast being chopped off for resisting a bid to force her into prostitution in Maharashtra, the Supreme Court has directed the state police to file an Action Taken Report (ATR).

A bench presided over by Chief Justice P Sathasivam admitted a PIL filed by Supreme Court advocate Vibhu Shanker Mishra, who spoke about the fate of the unfortunate victim to point out the vulnerable condition of women. He raised a question on whether the legal structure was enough to grant them protection.

The petitioner referred to a news report stating that the victim’s breasts were slashed by a pimp Ruby with her male friends Alam and Afzal. Though the police had arrested Ruby, her accomplices were absconding, he claimed.

According to the report, Alam lured the victim, who hailed from a poor family in Gujarat, to get married to him. He brought her to Mumbai and sold her to Ruby for a sum of Rs 30,000. Ruby tried to put her into prostitution. When she resisted, she was harassed and branded with an iron rod before her breasts were chopped off. The incident came to light after the victim was admitted to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital there.

Advocate Kumud L Das, appearing for the petitioner, urged the court to take action on the matter and direct the authorities concerned to bring her to Delhi for better treatment.

While acknowledging the seriousness of the issue, the court fixed the matter for further hearing on April 15. The court sought a response from the Maharashtra and Gujarat governments as well as an ATR from the Bhiwandi’s city police inspector and chief medical officer of Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital.

The PIL, while highlighting the plight of the victim, also raised the larger question of whether the criminal procedure law, penal law and the Prevention of Immoral Traffic Act were sufficient to check crime against women.

According to the petitioner, “The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013, failed to put a control on crime against women. It is almost an every day feature to read or watch a crime against women such as rape, murder, bride burning, dowry death etc.” He urged the court to direct the government to highlight safety measures as a way to prevent offences against women.