Act Of Touching A Colleague’s Hand Does Not Constitute The Offence Of Outraging Modesty Of A Woman: Bombay HC [Read Judgment]

Source: livelaw.in

The Bombay High Court has held that the bare act of touching hands of a fellow colleague is not sufficient to constitute the offence of outraging modesty of a woman. Division bench of Justice TV Nalawade and Justice KK Sonawane quashed a FIR filed against Dilip Lomate under Section 354 (assault or criminal force to a woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the Indian Penal Code. Lomate, the headmaster at Shri. Sant Dnyaneshwar Prathmik Ashram School, Osmanabad district was accused by an Assistant teacher of outraging her modesty.

The complainant Vaishali, was working at the same school as an Assistant Teacher since 2004. Her medical bills and leave allowance bills between 2015-2016 before the school authority. According to prosecution, on September 26, 2018, in the morning hours, when the complainant was busy teaching the students, the applicant headmaster appeared in the class-room. He came near Vaishali and after touching her hands, disclosed that her pending bills will be made cleared. He requested her not to complain against him to the Trustees of the School. He then threatened the complainant saying that he has relatives on high posts and no one can harm him. But, after the threat, complainant folded her hands in order to apologise, the applicant then touched her hands and pressed them.

The complainant narrated the incident to another teacher and on October 12, 2018, she filed the report to the police for penal action against the applicant headmaster.

The applicant then filed an application under Section 482 of CrPC for quashing of the said proceedings.

Submissions

Applicant’s lawyer SJ Salunke submitted that all allegations about the attempt of applicant to outrage the modesty of complainant are false, baseless and vexatious. He argued that there was inordinate delay in lodging the FIR.

Also, while discharging her duties in the school, complainant had a habit of insubordination. She always remained absent in the school without giving prior intimation or application for leave. She ventured to put her signature on the muster roll subsequently without permission of the higher authority. A memo was issued to the complainant for her negligent conduct and demeanour in the school. The Divisional Deputy Commissioner, Social Welfare Department was appraised about frequent absence of complainant on duty without prior intimation. The applicant being headmaster of the School used to try and make her understand to behave properly. But she threatened him with a case of sexual harassment, Salunke submitted.

APP SS Chaudhari appeared on behalf of the complainant opposing the arguments advanced by the applicant’s lawyer. The FIR lodged against the applicant categorically reflects that the applicant committed offence of outraging the modesty of complainant. He caught hold the hands of complainant and pressed it with ill-intention, Chaudhari said.

Judgement

Court examined the submissions and noted-

“The aforesaid provision of Section 354 of IPC has been enacted to safeguard the public morality and decent behaviour. Therefore, if any person uses criminal force upon any woman with intention or knowledge that the woman’s modesty will be outraged, he is to be penalized. In order to constitute the offence under Section 354 of IPC, mere knowledge that the modesty of a woman is likely to be outraged is sufficient without any deliberate intention of such outrage alone for its object. It is a rule of law that, while dealing with the cases of allegation of outrage of modesty, the Court should adopt a careful approach and offence cannot be treated as trivial.”

After careful assessment of the complainant’s statement, Court observed-

“The intense scrutiny of the factual score reflects that there was no use of criminal force or assault by the applicant-Headmaster to the respondent No.2 – Assistant Teacher at the time of alleged incident. The bare act of touching the hands of fellow woman-teacher by Headmaster while uttering words that her bills would be made cleared and she should not make complaint to Trustees of the School, would not itself sufficient to constitute the offence of outraging the modesty of respondent No.2 – complainant.

The factual score of the episode of allegation of indecent behaviour of the applicant- Headmaster, prima facie, reflects that there was no culpable intention on the part of applicant-accused while touching the hands of respondent No.2 Teacher to commit the offence of outraging her modesty.”

Thus, the said FIR was quashed and set aside.

Jharkhand HC’s Intervention Saves An Old Man From Starvation

Source: livelaw.in

Jharkhand High Court has brought the much-need relief to octogenarian Munilal Yadav, a resident of Baghmara area in Dhanbad district, who was facing starvation for the past several days.

A division bench comprising Justices HC Mishra and Deepak Roshan on Wednesday took cognizance of the plight of old man and ordered the deputy commissioner of Dhanbad to submit a report on the issue.

Following the court’s order, the district administration swung into action and provided food grains to Munilal within hours.

Lawyer Harshvradhan Sahay, who had brought the matter before the court, said on Thursday that now the division bench has ordered for registration of a PIL in the case.

“I had seen the plight of Munilal in a television report and thought it proper to bring it to the notice of the court. Once court issued the directive, the administration initiated several measures for bringing relief to the man. Steps for his pension has also been initiated” Sahay said. He added that entire process was streamlined and benefits were delivered within hours of the order.

It may be stated here that Munilal is weak and frail due to old age and was surviving on the alms from his neighbors for a long time.

Jharkhand HC Stays Proceeding Against Union Agriculture Minister

Source: livelaw.in

In a relief to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, the Jharkhand High Court (HC) has granted a stay in proceeding against him in lower court in a case related to alleged insult and provocation knowing that it would cause break of public peace.

Justice AK Gupta granted the stay on the ground that the complainant failed to appear before HC after a notice was issued to him in 2017 while he was trying to proceed in lower court, said Tomar’s lawyer Saumitra Baroi. The HC had issued notice to the complainant while granting stay in proceeding in the case in lower court.

It may be noted here that the case was lodged by Congress worker MK Azad at Dhanbad civil court after Tomar allegedly said that a few people compare Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi adding that the hair a moustache and that of a tail cannot be compared. The statement was allegedly made by Tomar while addressing a public rally in 2016.

Meanwhile, as per guidelines issued by Supreme Court, the lower court recently re-opened proceeding against Tomar after lapse of six months of stay. It issued a bailable warrant and directed Tomar to appear before the court in July. Tomar, however, moved the HC again to secure the stay. The hearing in the case would be in September.