Edited By: Pathikrit Sen Gupta
Last Updated: March 24, 2023, 01:37 IST
The court was hearing a criminal revision application filed by an assistant teacher of Zilla Parishad. (Representational image)
The high court set aside the order of the magistrate court discharging the accused for outraging the modesty of the appellant
A single-judge bench of the Bombay High Court comprising Justice GA Sanap recently observed that the character and reputation of a woman in our society “are preserved and protected like invaluable jewels” and that they are “reluctant to come out in open against such a crime” while quashing an order of the magistrate court that had discharged the accused for outraging the modesty of the appellant.
“It is to be noted that in such cases one has to be mindful of the fact that the character and reputation of a woman in our society is preserved and protected like invaluable jewels. The women in our society as well as the near and dear are, therefore, reluctant to come out in open against such a crime, which has a tendency and propensity to cause a direct dent to the character and reputation. In our conservative society, therefore, as far as possible, an attempt is made to veil such incident,” the order reads.
The court was hearing a criminal revision application filed by an assistant teacher of Zilla Parishad. She alleged that when she was doing work assigned by the accused, he placed his hand on her shoulder and dragged it up to her waist. She alleged that the accused asked her for sexual favours and when she tried to leave the chamber, he pulled her saree.
It was also alleged that on a number of occasions, the accused had acted in a similar indecent manner by touching her shoulder and her body. Further, on one of the subsequent days when she went to the washroom, the accused was hiding inside. She informed her husband and a complaint was made to the Women Grievance Redressal Committee which observed that the accused had indulged in a serious offence and an FIR was registered.
When the accused made an application before the magistrate court for discharge, the court allowed the application on the ground that no case was made out on the basis of the material to presume that he had committed the offence.
The high court set aside the order of the magistrate on the grounds that the discharge was not considered as per the law.
“In my view, if the material on record is examined in juxtaposition with this settled position, it becomes clear that the approach of the learned Magistrate was not in accordance with law. The learned Magistrate while deciding the discharge application has made a roving enquiry and appreciated the material on merits. It is not permissible,” the judge stated.
The bench also noted that there was no reason to malign the image of the teacher in society.
“The informant is the Assistant Teacher. There was no reason for her to malign her image and reputation in the society. She has narrated the same in her report. It is further pertinent to note that the learned Magistrate has branded her report as a false report. In my view, at the stage of discharge, it is not permissible. It is trite law that the evidence of sole witness of a sterling quality can be made the basis of conviction” the order noted.
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