A 22- year- old gang- rape survivor was sent to jail by a civil court Araria district of Bihar on charges of disrupting proceedings of the court. The court also charged two social workers with a similar offense for abetting her acts. According to the police, when recording her testimony in a rape case before a magistrate in Araria, the woman allegedly raised her voice, insisting that she would sign the statement only after one of the activists had seen it.
On 7 July, the woman lodged a report at the Araria Women's Police Station, claiming that she had been gang-raped on 6th July 2020. After FIR has been registered, she was called upon to record her statement to the magistrate under Section 164 of the CrPC on 10th July 2020. Police said that she appeared with two social activists, Kalyani Badola and Tanmay Nivedata, from NGO Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan, to record her statement. When the magistrate told her to sign her statement, the woman allegedly insisted that one of the activists first read it to her. According to the police, no one can assist the complainant while making a statement to the magistrate. The three women are now being detained in a jail in Samastipur, 225 km away from Araria. In the meanwhile, the investigation into the gang-rape case is ongoing, with the police making one arrest so far. The complainant's medical report is awaited, the police said.
Araria Sub Divisional police officer Pushkar Kumar speaking about the arrest of the women stated that “Police officers were not involved in the court proceedings. The survivor has been arrested on the basis of an FIR registered by the judicial magistrate of the honorable court.”
According to the FIR lodged against the three women, they "misbehaved" with the presiding officer. “While recording their statement, the accused trio insulted the presiding officer by misbehaving with him and tried to obstruct the proceedings of the court. The survivor refused to sign the written statement saying that she would not sign until Kalyani and Tanmay have read it.” FIR read. The FIR further stated that the complainant had fled the magistrate's chamber and had argued with the court prosecutor using offensive words. The three had been recorded under the IPC Sections, including 353 (assault or criminal force to stop public servants from doing their duties), 228 (Attempting to insult and disturb judicial proceedings) of the IPC and Sections 188, 180, 120(B) of the Contempt of Court Act.
In a statement, the Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan, which works for laborers, has said the magistrate “mistook” the complainant’s “nervousness” for contempt. The statement read, “While recording the statement in front of the magistrate on 10 July, the survivor was a little nervous. She was feeling disturbed due to her identity being exposed in the media and narrating the same events time and again for the last four days. Also, she was not getting any support from her family either. She only wanted to consult Kalyani before signing the written statement. But the court mistook this nervousness of the survivor for an insult and registered a case on this basis only.”