PINK- A blazing indictment of all that’s wrong with us!

Pink is a social Bollywood thriller directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury released in 2016. The film revolves around three independent working girls stuck falsely in a courtroom trial. Minal is a sexual assault victim who is unjustly tried for attempt to murder of a man named Rajveer with a strong political background, and is defended in court by a retired lawyer, Deepak Sehgal, who is seen challenging India’s sickening rape culture. The movie is remarkable in many ways but it was most famous for its powerful dialogue “No means no” which touched the audience. The plot of the film is very sensitive and mind engaging, which is why the film got boundless critical recognition and swept a national award, along with other factors like excellent cast and direction. The film however has a few complexities with respect to law, police and judiciary.

Minal and her friends go to a resort with Rajveer and his friends where Rajveer forces himself on Minal after she expresses her lack of consent, physically and verbally and when he does not stop, Minal grabs a glass bottle, hits his head and runs away. His friends rush him to a hospital and the first legal issue observed is his friends’ refusal to go ahead with the MLC Report. MLC stands for Medicolegal Cases and such a report is required to be prepared when the doctor deems enquiry by law necessary after examining with his medical expertise, the intensity of injury caused to the patient. His friends refused to do so and the doctor is seen agreeing to it. More legal complexities arise when the plot of the film shifts to how police favors the rich and ‘sourceful’ in India and side step the principles of law to help those in power.

When Minal approaches a police station to file a FIR of molestation and criminal intimidation against Rajveer after receiving threat calls, the police officer tries to scare her with a potential charge of attempt to murder that could be filed against her if she chooses to report the incident and takes no further step to help her. This action is a clear misconduct of section 154 of Code of Criminal Procedure that deals with information in cognizable cases and police is required by law to make a report of such information[1]. Information can be reported in any police headquarters regardless of the jurisdictional limits and area of occurrence of the event and no officer can decline to enlist a FIR on grounds that offence was committed beyond their jurisdiction. Such FIRs are reported as Zero FIR in any station the victim could reach and then transferred to the station having jurisdiction in the given matter.

Minal could exercise the relief provided in section 154(3) of the same code to file her complaint but she meets the Assistant Commissioner of Police who then ensures a zero FIR is filed. Ideally, now the police officer must begin the investigation, as the law grants him this power under section 156 of the same code but here he is seen calling Rajveer’s father and upon being informed about Minal’s FIR, Rajveer files a complaint against Minal under section 320, 324 and 307 of the Indian Penal Code for causing grievous hurt and attempt to murder and accuses the girls of prostitution. These charges made on Minal are offences recognized as cognizable, non-compoundable and non-bailable offences and are triable by court of sessions.

Police arrests Minal on a Friday to delay her bail as much as possible so she cannot file a request to High Court or Court of Session for anticipatory bail under section 438(1) of Code of Criminal Procedure. Deepak Sehgal then guides Minal’s friends to write an appeal for an emergency bail plea to sessions judge and tells them that women can get bail even in non-bailable offences because being accused with charges of serious offences is not a reasonable ground to deny bail to the accused[2]. Usually some amount of cash is lodged by the accused as an assurance for his appearance in future proceedings of the court. Bailable offence is defined under section 2(a) of the code and arrangements with regards to the bail and bonds have been stated from section 436 to 450 of Code of Criminal Procedure. Although, persons accused of both bailable (436) and non-bailable offence (437, 438) can apply for bail but bailable offences generally have higher odds as they generally satisfy the criteria of Court.

As courtroom trial begins and progresses, it is found out that the lady officer who arrested Minal committed police perjury by not only filing Rajveer’s FIR in an unsystematic manner by playing with the dates and making an entry with no details but also by giving false testimony in court about Minal fleeing her arrest. This conduct is an offence against public justice as police is emblem of state authority and is recognized under section 191 of Indian Penal Code and punishable under section 193 but the judge is seen ignoring this and lets it pass without penalizing or warning. The proceedings of court are shown rather unusual than realistic since advocates rely on lengthy speeches of their own opinion and not present much conclusive evidence. Minal’s landlord was threatened verbally and physically to evict the girls out, Minal got threat calls and she was wrongfully confined and assaulted in a van but none of this is mentioned as evidence in court. Their arguments did not depend on facts and cross-questioning done by the public prosecutor is oppressive and insulting than legitimate and when his colleague repeatedly objects to it, the judge does not listen to him as prosecution is out-shouting them. It is proved that Rajveer has rather committed vindictive litigation because he filed a false report only after Minal reported against him and Minal is relieved of her charges. Although the court finds Rajveer guilty of section 354 of Indian Penal Code and charges his friends with section 340 but they should also have been charged under section 499 and 500 for defamation as their constant remarks of prostitution, which they were not, and tactics lowered the girls’ reputation and one even lost her job and also under section 503 for criminal intimidation.

[1] Lalitha Kumari vs. State of UP, 2013.

[2] Seema Singh vs. Central Bureau of Investigation, 2018.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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