Petition to Conduct CBI Enquiry into Murder of Dr J A Mathan

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Molested again in Court??: Molestation victim humiliated in Ahmedabad court

Molested again in Court??: Molestation victim humiliated in Ahmedabad court
16 September 2009
AHMEDABAD: “How many of your room mates smoke?” “Do you drink?” — Pamela could take it no more. Hurt and humiliated, she broke down in the overcrowded courtroom, pleading for privacy in the trial. This is no scene from a film, but what a 23-year-old British national living in the city went through at a metropolitan magistrate’s court, which was hearing a case on Tuesday of how she was allegedly molested by a plumber. The girl is in city on a three month internship programme and lives in a flat in Satellite area.

The accused — Pragnesh Chhatrada — had come to their apartment to repair a shower. Seeing her alone, he pulled her by the hand and tried to kiss her, Pamela (name changed) told the police. Even when Pamela went to the Satellite area police station to lodge her complaint on August 25, an interpreter was called since nobody could understand her.

Her effort to get justice turned out to be another ordeal as she was humiliated in an open court and ridiculed on Monday when defence lawyer Sanjay Prajapati asked her whether she smoked and drank. Pamela found herself alone in the witness box — there was no interpreter and public prosecutor JS Joshi was busy in another case.

Prajapati, immediately sprang into action, aggressively cross-examining her on whether she and her roommates had informed the police station concerned about hiring a house or were illegally living in the city. He went to the extent of accusing her of faking the case to get a good grade in her internship.

After a point, Pamela refused to answer in absence of the public prosecutor. Unable to stand the ridicule, she broke down. This forced magistrate NM Bundelia to adjourn the proceedings on Monday. Meanwhile, the girl and her well-wishers made representations before Gujarat High Court to contain the humiliation. Advocate Meena Jagtap volunteered as interpreter but Prajapati continued with his tirade.

Jagtap and Joshi repeatedly urged the court to stop Prajapati from raising irrelevant questions leading to an argument between Jagtap and Prajapati. At one point Prajapati said, “If I were a woman and behaved like her (Pamela), one man would go to jail daily”. This enraged Jagtap and the magistrate also took this on record.

Amid this drama, Pamela moved a plea for in-camera trial and journalists and lawyers were asked to leave.

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