Explained: The Rehana Fathima POCSO case
Rehana Fathima, also known as Surya Gayathri, is a Kerala-born activist for women’s rights in India.
She is a former model with experience in the telecommunications industry, and she has taken part in several demonstrations against sexism and moral policing. After the Supreme Court decided to abolish the restriction on women of menstrual age, Fathima became well-known in October 2018 when she was one of two women who made an attempt to visit the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. As a result of her advocacy, she has encountered legal repercussions, including arrests for allegedly inflammatory Facebook posts and a body painting video.
After encouraging her children to paint her while she was semi-naked, she was accused of POCSO.
Rehana Fathima, gained notoriety a few months ago after a video of her posing semi-naked for her young children triggered a reaction. She was letting the kids paint on her partially naked body in the video.
On Monday, the Kerala High Court weighed in on a POCSO case involving a women’s rights advocate who was arrested for sharing a video in which she was posing semi-naked for her kids. The video caused a significant controversy, and the case was ultimately brought before a judge.
Rehana Fathima posed semi-naked in front of young children; why?
In the viral video that received a lot of negative feedback, activist Rehana Fathima was seen posing topless in front of her children and letting them paint on her body to spread a message about female nudity.
In her explanation of the video’s motivation, Rehana said that the body painting was intended to make a political statement against society’s presumption that nude female bodies are automatically sexualized but male upper bodies are not subjected to the same presumption.
For sharing the video in which she was seen semi-naked with her kids around, Fathima was charged under many sections of the POCSO, Juvenile Justice, and Information Technology (IT) Acts. The Kerala High Court, however, has already dismissed the case.
The POCSO lawsuit against women’s rights advocate Rehana Fathima was ultimately dismissed by the Kerala High Court after it was stated that the fairer sex is frequently harassed, discriminated against, ostracised, and prosecuted for making decisions about their bodies and lives.
Justice Kauser Edappagath dismissed the 33-year-old activist from the case, stating that it was impossible for anybody to conclude from the charges against her that her children were used for any actual or simulated sexual actions.
The HC bench said, “A woman’s basic right to equality and privacy lies at the very foundation of her right to make autonomous decisions about her body. Additionally, it is covered under the Constitution’s Article 21 protection of personal liberty.
In the end, the Kerala High Court agreed with her and stated that painting on the upper body cannot be considered any kind of sexual behaviour.