Retd judge says victim ‘not normal’

Former Kerala High Court judge R Basant, who was a member of the Division Bench that had acquitted 35 accused in the Suryanelli serial rape case, on Saturday alluded at the merit of the recent Supreme Court judgment, which set aside the acquittal. He also questioned the character of the victim, saying that "the girl was not normal, but a deviant. There is ample evidence that she was used as a child prostitute".

His observations aired on a a TV channel on Saturday led to widespread protests, with several organisations demanding that a case be registered against Basant, now a Supreme Court lawyer.

Talking to Indiavision TV, which sought his opinion on the judgment, Basant said, "My response is my judgment. If anyone wants to know anything about it, please read it. In the judgment is given why the court was constrained to disbelieve the girl. You can agree or disagree. It is in the judgment why we decided so...It was improper to say that attitude of the court towards the case changed after P J Kurien was elected to the Lok Sabha." When told that the SC was shocked at the HC verdict, Basant said with laugh, "Those who have not read the judgment would be shocked."

He said the judgment has all the details on how the victim was a deviant girl. "But I am not trying to blame her.''

"The girl did not pay the school Rs 450 given by her father as fee. She had taken gold ornaments from home and pledged them for somebody. So we can say, here is a girl who was not normal. She was a deviant. Then, there was a letter, which said she was running away. The letter was not produced during the first trial,'' he said.

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