Karnataka High Court restrains political parties, individuals from visiting woman stripped, beaten at Belgavi

The Court clarified that the order shall not prevent the family members of the victim, the official representatives of Statutory Authorities/ Commissions or the Investigating Agencies to visit the victim.
Karnataka High Court
Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka High Court on Saturday held an urgent hearing to restrain political parties and other persons from visiting the 42-year-old woman from Belgavi who was recently beaten and stripped in public after her son eloped with a girl from the same village. 

The bench of Chief Justice PB Varale and Justice Krishna S Dixit passed the order on an urgent basis after taking note of a Times Now media report which reported that the victim would be visited by representatives of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and a delegation from a political party. 

The Court observed that although it is not unusual to visit victims in hospitals, in this case such visits were likely to worsen the mental health status of the victim. 

"The visit of people to the hospital to see the victim, in the circumstances, is not unusual. This Court normally would not like to restrict the freedom of movement of any citizen; however, considering the fact that the victim has suffered unbearable trauma and she has been undergoing medical treatment, in our considered opinion, the flow of visitors is likely to affect the health condition of the victim and disturb the ongoing medical treatment as well. Therefore, we deem it appropriate to restrict the visitors in the best interest of the victim and to secure undisturbed medical treatment," the Court's order stated. 

The Court, therefore, ordered that no person, be it an individual, group, association, political parties or the like shall visit the place of the victim,  except with the prior written permission of the medical officer in-charge of the hospital or the doctor treating the victim. 

However, the Court clarified that the order shall not prevent the family members of the victim, the official representatives of statutory authorities/ commissions or the investigating agencies to visit the victim.

"Needless to state that the order shall not prevent the family members of the victim, the official representatives of Statutory Authorities/ Commissions or the Investigating Agencies to visit the victim in a need based manner," the Court clarified. 

The incident in focus took place pre-dawn on December 11 after the victim woman's son eloped with a girl from the same village, whose marriage had been fixed with another man.

The 42-year-old woman is said to have been tied to a pole, beaten, stripped and paraded in the village after the girl's relatives came to know that she had run away from home.

Police officers are said to have rushed to the spot to rescue the woman, after a villager tipped off the authorities.

The High Court took suo motu cognisance of the incident on December 12.

On December 14, the Court asked the State to file an additional status report in the matter, after noting that the status report already filed was missing key details on the psychological counselling and other treatment extended to the victim. 

Meanwhile, it has been reported that eleven people have been arrested so far for their alleged involvement in publicly beating the victim.

On December 16 (today) the victim was also reportedly visited by a team from the NHRC, which has taken cognisance of the incident, as well as a fact checking team from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

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