Cruel practices disguised as traditional ceremonies will be dealt with severely by the law, says Madras High Court

Chennai: Condemning the practice of subjecting women to cruelty under the guise of ceremonies, the Madras high court has observed that such acts can never be justified even if they have been followed for a very long time.

"No one has the right to force another person into any act which causes pain and suffering in the name of a ceremony, and results in cruelty to a person. Such acts can never be justified even if it has been followed for a very long time," Justice N Anand Venkatesh said on Tuesday.

Madras High Court. Agencies

Madras High Court. Agencies

The judge said a ceremony which affects the dignity of a person and which, on the face of it, is inhuman offends Article 21 of the Constitution.

He said a strong message must be sent to all citizens that cruel acts in the name of ceremonies will not be tolerated and will be dealt with severely by the law.

The judge stated this while modifying the July 2010 order of the principal Sessions Judge Dharmapuri, sentencing four women who subjected another woman to cruelty, to one year of imprisonment.

He directed that the sentence be set off against the period already undergone by them in prison.

The prosecution case was that the four women forcibly took the young woman to a dam late at night on 12 February, 2001. They removed her clothes, shaved her head, and burnt her tongue with a red hot needle.

Her 'thali' ('mangalsutra') was removed, which was tied again by her husband, who was present. All this was done on the charge that she was possessed by an evil spirit, the prosecution said.

Following a complaint from the victim and her father, a case was registered.

The trial court awarded the sentence, which was confirmed by the Sessions Court in 2010. The judge took into consideration the passage of 17 years from the date of occurrence of the crime and age of the accused, and modified the sentence.

He directed them to each deposit a compensation of Rs 15,000 before the Judicial Magistrate II in Dharmapuri within eight weeks, enabling the victim to withdraw the amount.

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Updated Date: Jun 20, 2018 11:48:58 IST