The Pune sessions court has allowed bail for four accused in an alleged case of gang rape of a 19-year-old transgender that took place on 17 June in Wadgaon Budruk, reports Pune Mirror. The court had ordered for bail as Section 377 has no mention of a ‘third gender’.
The survivor and her family complained to Sun City police chowki, under the Sinhagad police station, after she was able to flee from the clutches of the rapists.
The police were able to arrest three of the accused on 20 June. They were presented to the court on 21 June and were in police custody until 23 June.
They were booked under sections 377 (unnatural offences), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The survivor’s ordeal did not end at this. She and her family members were subjected to brash treatment and insensitive behaviour by the medical staff of the Sassoon General Hospital. She suffered severe mental trauma and was admitted to the hospital for two days.
As of now, she is stable and is at her home.
The decision of the court
The court initially sought medical reports, which the police failed to provide on the first day of the case. Once the reports with “other” gender were noticed, the court let all the four accused walk free last week.
Speaking to the Pune Mirror, public prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar, who was heading the case, said, “It was difficult for us to establish that a transgender was raped by four men. The law states that Section 377 of the IPC is intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or an animal. There is no mention of a third gender. We could have shifted the case to Section 376, but even that became difficult because there is definitive mention of a gender.”
The birth certificate of a transgender might speak of the sex of the individual – ‘boy’ or ‘girl’. But it is not as simple as that of other heterosexual people.The mention on the birth certificate is only but a farce.
Eminent transgender activists in Pune have been pained and angered by the decision of the court. Sonali Dalvi, a city-based transgender activist, found the court ruling’s appalling and insensitive, in spite of the Supreme Court directing the high courts that the transgenders should also be treated with equality.
“There is no fundamental substantive law that provides any respite to transgenders. Both Sections 377 and 376 require the mention of a gender, and if there is no amendment to that, we will not be able to push forward for life imprisonment of any other punitive result to the crime. If this were a culpable homicide then it would be easier to comprehend as there is no need for a gender here,” Dalvi added, speaking to the Mirror.
The Logical Indian severely condemns the entire episode where the court has been insensitive to the needs of the transgender community. This incident would prove to be a precedent for similar cases where the accused would think that he can go scot-free in spite of committing a heinous crime like this. We urge the concerned authorities to look into the matter, take all aspects into account and then ensure that justice is meted out to the ones who deserve it.