Fatima Riswana v. State

The Cyber Blog IndiaCase Summary

Fatima Riswana v. State

 Fatima Riswana v. State
(2005) 1 SCC 582
In the Supreme Court of India
C.A.  61-62/2005
Before Justice N Santosh Hegde and Justice S B Sinha
Decided on January 11, 2005

Relevancy of the case: Transfer of a case involving sexual exploitation, creation, and sale of pornographic content

Statutes and Provisions Involved

  • The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Section 67)
  • The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Section 366, 306, 376, 506, 120B, 506(ii))
  • The Indecent Representation of Women Prohibition Act, 1986 (Section 6)
  • The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1956 (Section 5, 6)
  • The Arms Act, 1959 (Section 27)

Relevant Facts of the Case

  • The applicant is one of the prosecution witnesses in a case (SC 9/2004) where one Dr L Prakash is accused of exploiting people by making and selling their pornographic content.
  • The trial was allotted to a Court presided over by a lady judge, one of the ‘Mahila Courts’.
  • The case was ultimately transferred to a court presided by a male judge by the Madras High Court, stating that perusal of CDs containing sexual exploitation would cause embarrassment to a lady judge.
  • The applicant has filed against this transfer of the case.

Prominent Arguments by the Advocates

  • The petitioner’s counsel argued that the lady officer didn’t express any embarrassment in conducting the trial; the court could not have presumed such embarrassment. Further, it is contrary to the interest of the witnesses.

Opinion of the Bench

  • The presiding officer has not asked for the transfer of the case. Embarrassment cannot be attributed only to a lady officer.
  • A judicial officer, be it a male or female, is expected to face the challenges that come with the duty they’re required to do.
  • The High Court didn’t see the embarrassment that may have been caused to the witness to appear before a court presided by a male Judge.

Final Decision

  • Appeal allowed.
  • Case transferred back.

This case summary has been prepared by Loreal Sahay, an undergraduate student at the University of School of Law and Legal Studies, GGSIPU, during her internship with The Cyber Blog India in January/February 2021.