Expressing deep anguish, the High Court of Karnataka has labeled the incident of a woman being paraded naked in a village in Belagavi district as an extraordinary case and vowed to handle it with utmost seriousness.
According to reports, the woman was allegedly assaulted, paraded, and tied to an electric pole after her son eloped with a girl who was supposed to be engaged to someone else. This horrifying incident took place in the early hours of December 11.
In response to this heinous act, a division bench has summoned the Police Commissioner of Belagavi and the Assistant Commissioner of Police to personally appear in court on December 18 and submit an additional report.
During the proceedings, the Advocate General presented a memo and some documents detailing the actions taken in response to the incident. However, the court expressed dissatisfaction with the report, stating that it fell short of expectations. The bench ordered the Advocate General to submit an additional status report on Monday.
When the Advocate General mentioned that the Assistant Commissioner of Police was investigating the matter, the High Court directed both the Commissioner and the Assistant Commissioner to be present in court and file the additional report. Furthermore, the court has ordered the immediate arrest of the assailants.
The High Court has strongly condemned the incident, describing it as a disgrace to society. The court expressed its disappointment, questioning whether, after 75 years of freedom, we are progressing towards equality and modernity or regressing to the dark ages of the 17th and 18th centuries.
The bench acknowledged that their use of harsh words may exceed the norm, but they felt compelled to express their deep anguish. They emphasized that their words were a reflection of their frustration and determination to address this issue with the seriousness it deserves.
The High Court further observed, “This incident will have a profound impact on future generations. Are we building a society where people have the opportunity to dream of a better future, or are we creating a society where some may feel that death is preferable to life? A society where there is no respect for women.”
On December 12, the High Court took suo motu cognizance of the incident based on news reports.
During the hearing on Thursday, the High Court expressed concern that a dangerous precedent is being set, where there is no fear of the law. “This sends a dangerous message that there are no consequences for one’s actions. Unfortunately, such a situation exists in Karnataka, which is considered a progressive state. The lack of fear for the law is deeply disturbing,” the Court stated.
The Court expressed its disappointment that the Women’s Commission had not yet taken any action. “It is with great sadness that we note the absence of the Women’s Commission in this matter. They seem to act promptly when it comes to TV debates, but where are they now? Have they taken any action? Have they visited the scene or met with the victim’s family? We are at a loss for words,” the Court remarked.
The Court recognized that this was an extraordinary case and promised to handle it with the utmost care. Since the accused is currently on the run, the High Court instructed the police to intensify their efforts to apprehend the individual. “Tell your inspector not to eat or rest until the accused is arrested,” the Court ordered.
Furthermore, the High Court directed the Attorney General to explore the possibility of providing compensation to the victim and her family. “Please come up with a monetary scheme to support this woman and her family,” the Court said.