Guj HC asks Chief Magistrate to inquire into UK woman`s case

Last Updated: Friday, September 18, 2009 - 23:58

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Friday
asked the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate here to inquire into
the allegation by a British woman that she was humiliated in
an open court.

Following her experience during the hearing on Monday
of the case of her alleged molestation by a plumber, Kaya
Eldridge had written to High Court Chief Justice K S
Radhakrishnan charging she was humiliated in the courtroom of
magistrate N M Gundeliya.
"The Chief Justice today asked the Chief Metropolitan
Magistrate to inquire into the matter and asked for a status
report," Eldridge`s lawyer Meena Jagtap said.

She said the Chief Justice has asked the magistrate to
ascertain whether the trial in this case took place in
accordance with the law.

As in cases involving criminal acts like rape or
sexual harassment, the Supreme Court guidelines say that court
proceedings should take place `in-camera` so as to avoid not
only embarrassment to the victim in courtroom but also to
protect her identity.

Eldridge, a 23-year-old British woman, was allegedly
molested by a plumber Pragnesh Chhatrada last month and he
was later arrested and charged.

During the hearing of case in the metropolitan court,
Eldridge and her lawyer Jagtap said that Chhatrada`s lawyer
Sanjay Prajapati humiliated them.
In her letter to High Court Eldridge had said that
Prajapati had asked her irrelevant questions like if she
smoked and drank and was she living illegally in India.

Eldridge had also complained that Prajapati had asked
her questions in Gujarati during the hearing held on Monday
which she could not comprehend. Moreover, the people sitting
in the court were laughing at her including the accused.

The UK woman had further alleged that during hearing
in court she was not provided with a translator.

Even the public prosecutor in the case J S Joshi had
left the court during the cross examination to attend hearing
in other case, Eldridge had said in her letter.

Eldridge had also moved a plea to conduct the hearing
in the case in-camera, which was accepted by the court.

Further hearing of the case is scheduled on September
30.

Bureau Report



First Published: Friday, September 18, 2009 - 23:58

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