The Kerala High Court granted anticipatory bail to bridal make-up artist Anez Anzare, He was accused of sexually assaulting several women under the guise of applying their make-up.
Justice Gopinath P handled that custodial investigation may not be necessary to investigate the cases registered against Aznar, and granted him anticipatory bail subject to certain conditions.
The court said in its order – “Further taking into account the allegations raised against the petitioner I am of the view that the custodial interrogation of the petitioner may not be necessary for a proper investigation into the cases registered against the petitioner. I am, therefore, inclined to allow these bail applications,”
Later, Anzare moved to the High Court for anticipatory bail in four cases registered against him alleging the commission of offenses under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354-B (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 354-A(1)(i) and 354-A(2) (sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code. He was charged with these three on the basis of complaints filed by the bridal makeup artist’s clients.
Behind the story is that Anzare touched them inappropriately under the guise of applying makeup, going so far as to pull down their innerwear. Some claimed that he asked inappropriate questions with sexual innuendo, directly and over text messages.
One of the crimes was registered on the basis of a complaint filed by a woman who had been appointed as an accountant at Anzare’s studio. She alleged that under the guise of showing her around the studio, Anzare started touching her inappropriately.
Anzare’s lawyer contended that the allegations were completely baseless and false, raised with the intention to drive his client out of business. He alleged that the complaints were raised at the behest of one Priya, who was earlier associated with Anzare.
He pointed out that the allegations against Anzare surfaced immediately after an allegation of rape was raised against tattoo artist, PS Sujeesh. The media attention that case garnered prompted Priya to start a social media campaign against Anzare, he claimed.
The prosecution opposed these claims and submitted that the de facto complainants in the cases have no apparent connection with each other.
It was submitted by the foundation that the modus operandi of Anzare was to sexually abuse women who come for bridal make-up, on the day of their marriage, so that they will not reveal the incident to any person or dare to make a complaint.
The Court said that the allegations raised against Anzare are, no doubt, serious. It noted that of the offenses registered against him in the four cases, the non-bailable offenses are those under Section 354 and 354B of the Indian Penal Code.
The maximum penalty for the offenses alleged against Anzare in these cases is imprisonment for a term that shall extend to 7 years.
Going by the guidelines for granting bail issued by the Supreme Court in Siddharth v. State of Uttar Pradesh, the Court deemed it appropriate to grant anticipatory bail, subject to certain conditions.
Advocates S Rajeev, V Vinay, MS Aneer, Sarath KP, D Feroze, and CJ Jiyas appeared for Anzare. Public Prosecutor MC Ashi represented the State.
The accusations against Anzare and before him, tattoo artist Sujeesh, has renewed the conversation around women’s safety in Kerala, especially in spaces like tattoo studios and parlours.
The floodgates to the accusations opened when an anonymous post on Reddit, recounting the rape of a woman allegedly at the hands of Sujeesh, gained traction across several social media platforms.
Other women joined in with their own harrowing experiences and several cases were registered against the tattoo artist, alleging rape and sexual assault. He was arrested and remained in custody for a month until the Additional Sessions Court at Ernakulam recently granted him bail.