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Bengaluru: Law student sexual harassment case, HC refuses to quash case against accused advocate

HC-Karnataka-IANS
Photo Credit : IANS

Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court has rejected the appeal petition seeking quashing of sexual harassment case filed by the law student against the accused senior advocate K.S.N. Rajesh Bhat.

The accused had sought quashing of cases against him in the Mangaluru Women’s Police station and the criminal proceedings in the third JMFC court in connection with the case.

The bench headed by Justice M. Nagaprasanna gave the order on Tuesday after taking note of the victim’s statements and the petitioner’s claims.

If the court intervenes in the matter, it will be like refuting horrific acts against those who work as internees at the advocates’ offices, the bench opined.

“If a naive student of law, enters the office of an Advocate, as an intern; in turn gets to face these horrendous acts, it would have a chilling effect on the entire practice and profession. Therefore, it is for the accused to come out clean in a full blown trial,” it stated.

The accused was in the position of a teacher and trust worthy status.

There are allegations against him under 376 (2) (F) of IPC Section and this needs investigation. The advocate has argued that the incident had not taken place as it is portrayed.

Besides, CCTV footage and other evidence have been provided in connection with the case, the bench further stated.

The complainant was studying in a second year law course and joined the office of the accused in August, 2021 for internship. She was given a Rs 6,000 stipend. The allegations against the accused included sending of private videos to her mobile, observing her movements in the office on CCTV camera.

It is alleged that the accused advocate pulled her hand and forced her into his cabin on September 25, 2021 when there was no one at the office at around 6.30 p.m.

He is also facing allegations of behaving vulgarly and sexual harassment.

The victim had managed to escape from the office and after coming out she had protested and questioned the senior advocate.

She had also complained that the accused had threatened her that if she lodges a complaint against him, he would kill her.

The victim had approached the man who had referred her and also the wife of the accused after the incident.

She lodged a police complaint against him. The influential accused gave police the slip for a long time before surrendering at the local court in Mangaluru in Karnataka. The police had formed special teams to nab him.

They were searching for the accused for more than two months and this had created public outrage.

The victim law graduate student has filed a case of sexual harassment against the accused KSN Rajesh Bhat on October 18.

The police department has suspended two police officers, including a woman sub-inspector, for dereliction of duty in connection with the case and arrested three persons.

They had also issued a lookout notice through Intelligence Bureau (IB) to all the airports of the country to prevent him from escaping to a foreign country.

A notice was served to banks to freeze the 12 accused’s bank accounts.

Rajesh Bhat was suspended from the membership of the Karnataka State Bar Council until further orders following the FIR against him.

The offences against him include charges of outraging the modesty of the victim, sexual harassment, criminal force with an intent to disrobe her, voyeurism, stalking, criminal intimidation, extortion and destruction of evidence.

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