8 Nagaland women get year’s jail for publicly humiliating woman

Kangaroo court had declared victim a violator of customary laws for alleged extra-marital affair

GUWAHATI: A court in Nagaland’s Tuensang district has sentenced a group of eight women to a year in prison for publicly humiliating a woman three years ago.

The eight had chopped off the woman’s hair, stripped and paraded her naked on the road in 2018 after a kangaroo court subscribing to tribal customary laws found her guilty of having an extra-marital affair.

The court of judicial magistrate first class also fined the group ₹3,000 for the offence under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.

The court observed that the victim did have an extra-marital affair, but the villagers took matters into their own hands and meted out “inhumane justice” in their kangaroo court.

“…the village folk asserting the so-called rights given unto them by the customary law outraged the modesty of the victim in the most barbaric fashion,” the court said in its order.

“It is such an inconceivable fact to even think that the women folk would go to the extent of chopping off a lady’s hair, stripping her and parading her naked on the roadside,” the court noted.

In their statements, the eight women said their village had passed a resolution in 2018 to punish adulterous women according to the customary practices.

The judicial magistrate’s court said the “misconceived notion of empowering oneself with the so-called “village resolutions” to do barbaric acts should be avoided at all cost.

Article 371A recognises the customary practices of the Nagas. But if all villagers allude to the constitutional provision for invoking laws that “uncultured civilisations” practised, there would be a total breakdown of law-and-order in society, the court observed.

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