Rutuja Shinde And Veera Mahuli On The Legal Road That Lies Ahead For #MeTooIndia
- IWB Post
- October 9, 2018
As more and more men get outed for their sexual misdemeanors, it becomes imperative to discuss what happens after this. While naming them is the first step, it shouldn’t be the only one. There is more that needs to be done, legal actions that need to be taken.
To get a more coherent idea of what the legal consequences of the movement look like, we got in touch with Rujuta Shinde and Veera Mahuli, two lawyers who have been supporting the Indian #MeToo movement by offering pro-bono legal counsel for the same.
In a Twitter dialogue with the two women, we tried anticipating and navigating the legal road ahead. Here are excerpts from the dialogue:
On the strength of any legal case against the man once he has ‘apologized’
@indianwomenblog @veeramahuli Tendering an apology does not undo the act of harassment. An apology may be treated as an admission on part of the accused. The victim can still press charges and it does not dilute the case.
@indianwomenblog @HavaldarShinde It isn’t a question about the apology being under duress or being clueless. It just doesn’t undo the illegality of the act. An apology is not a legally recognised remedy.
@indianwomenblog @veeramahuli It may so happen that the documents/evidence related to the same is difficult to place. Women can still approach the police and the investigative authorities can look into the evidence.
On the legal recourse for #MeToo in India
@indianwomenblog @HavaldarShinde With the spread of the movement, more and more women are coming forward and with the right legal assistance they can take recourse to remedies available to them. This will help spread awareness amongst people with respect to sexual harassment.
@indianwomenblog @veeramahuli There can be a separate tribunal set up to address cases relating to sexual harassment or such cases can be expidited by the Courts to meet the ends of justice.
On what keeps women from filing a report
@indianwomenblog @HavaldarShinde lack of awareness & the stigma attached to filing such complaints are the primary reasons women refrain from filing complaints. With more info being made availabe on social media, better legal assistance & sensitisation towards victims has made it easier for women to come forward
@indianwomenblog @veeramahuli The advice we’d like to give is that women should get the proper legal assisstance and find out all remedies that are available to them while filing a complaint.
@indianwomenblog @HavaldarShinde Monetary limitations. Lack of awareness of the recourse they have. The way forward would be to create a kind of support system wherein there is a flow of information.
On keeping the sanctity of the case against the perpetrator without the same information being used against the woman herself
@indianwomenblog @veeramahuli All documents, information and submissions made by the accuser can be used by the accused to defend his case, as is his right in law.
On the role of corporate HR in handling and addressing cases within
@indianwomenblog @HavaldarShinde It is extremely important for corporations to sensitize their employees towards what is sexual harassment at the workplace and how it can be dealt with. Every organisation to which The Sexual Harassment at Workplace, 2013 is applicable must strictly comply with its mandate.
On the possibility of political gambit in
#MeToo which might derail the entire movement
@indianwomenblog @veeramahuli It is very important to be focused on the purpose of the movement. A positive discussion around the movement is extremely important. The media needs to be impartial and supportive and make sure the conversation does not get derailed.