A series of tweets by a woman, who was molested on Shatabdi Express, on how to deal with the legal process are going viral on the internet. The woman, identified online as @2am philospher, alleges that her co-passenger molested her in a state of drunkenness in the packed train recently.
She tweeted on July 16 that the first thing to do under such circumstances is to scream and make others aware of the situation – for they are potential witnesses.
The woman tried to find the Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) but couldn't so she asked the pantry staff to inform the higher authorities. Shortly, the personnel of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) showed up and they took the alleged molester outside the cabin to question. She got down at the next station with the officials.
At this point, she tweets, that it is necessary to remember with a clear mind and note down things that have happened, for this would prove as evidence later in the scenario. She says that one needs to jot down the behaviour of the molester, both before and after the incident, and also the behaviour of the people around you. This is important because later the police might ask if you sought any help or not.
Next, she talks about the importance of filing an FIR. You'll be asked to file a statement. This statement can be written in front of the officials for clarity. She reminds not to leave the police station without filing the FIR; this could be crucial. In her case, it took her 3 long hours to file the FIR. Whatever the case, it is critical to file the FIR. She adds that in case they refute to file the FIR, one could ring up the police control room or the women's helpline services and file a Zero FIR. After filing the FIR, take photos or make copies of the statement and then ask the police for a receipt. This is important evidence because this involves receiving the signature and seal of the police officials affirming that they have received the complaint.
The victim was called to the police station next day and requested to drop charges. She says that the police asked her to consider into account the family of the molester. She remained stubborn and pressed charges. She gave the train ticket as the evidence. She reminds in her tweets that you have to stick with your story. You have to repeat it in front of different officials who try to find possible loopholes in your statements.
She was taken to the court on the third day and was asked to provide the statement. You also need to name the witnesses you have suggested. At this point, she tells it is necessary to narrate the incidents to your family or friends, so that they could be potential witnesses of the case. They could be called to the court and asked to retell the incident as they have heard, she advices.
She adds that people are basically doubtful about filing a case because they believe it is a long process and would eat up a lot of their time; this is a wrong assumption. One would have to attend court for just a single proceeding. One whole day in court is all it takes. Also you don't need to hire advocates because the state prosecutor will be fighting your case. Later, you'll be served a summons at whichever address you have given the authority, she tweets.
The woman also reminds that it is necessary to carry the summons on the date mentioned because it contains the information on whose courtroom the case will be held. Further, the defence counsel would try and settle the issue. In this case, she remained adamant; she was pressing charges and clearly wanted a court order.
She reminds that it is key to stick to the statement and write down everything as you remember because later on when you're called for the judgement, you would miss most of the things. Taking pictures of the statement would also help in this case, one of the tweets states.
Once the cross-examination is done, you are free to go and the case doesn't require any more of your involvement in further stages.
The tweet thread posted by this brave woman is very helpful when there is a huge lack of information among the public regarding the legal process if one ends up in such a situation.