Kochi, June 5
The right of autonomy over one’s body is often denied to the fairer sex and they are bullied, discriminated against, isolated and persecuted for making choices about their bodies and lives, the Kerala High Court said on Monday while discharging a women’s rights activist in a POCSO case.
Rehana Fathima, a woman’s right activist, was facing charges under various provisions of the POCSO, Juvenile Justice and the Information Technology (IT) Acts for circulating a video in which she was seen posing semi-nude for her minor children, allowing them to paint on her body.
Discharging her from the case, Justice Kauser Edappagath said that from the allegations against the 33-year-old activist, it was not possible to anyone to infer that her children were used for any real or simulated sexual acts and that too for sexual gratification.
The court said that she only allowed her body to be used as a canvas for her children to paint on.
“The right of a woman to make autonomous decisions about her body is at the very core of her fundamental right to equality and privacy. It also falls within the realm of personal liberty guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution,” it said.
The order came on Fathima’s appeal against a trial court decision dismissing her plea to be discharged from the case.
In her appeal in the high court, she had asserted that the body painting was meant as a political statement against the default view of society that the naked upper body of the female is sexualised in all contexts, whereas the naked male upper body is not treated to this default sexualisation.