Mumbai: "The act of following and abusing the complainant cannot be said to be capable of shocking the sense of decency of a woman. The act may be annoying but definitely would not shock the sense of decency of a woman, observed the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court recently. The court also said that such conduct can be annoying but will not be sufficient to shock the decency of a woman."
The court said that the complainant had not alleged that the accused touched her inappropriately or had pushed her by touching any specific part of her body.
"The contact with the part of the body of the complainant woman has not been stated by her. In these circumstances, merely because the appellant has on bicycle given a push to her, to my mind, cannot be said to be an act which is capable of shocking the sense of decency of the complainant. It may be an offensive or annoying act but cannot be said to be compromising the decency of a woman," Justice Anil Pansare emphasised.
The court was hearing an appeal filed by the man challenging his conviction and by a magistrate for outraging a woman's modesty.
The magistrate, on May 9, 2016, found him guilty under section (outraging of modesty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sentenced him to two years in prison and imposed a fine of Rs2,000. The sessions court, on July 10 this year upheld his conviction.
Accused Was Out On Bail
However, he was out on bail and his sentence was suspended pending hearing in the appeal. The woman had lodged a complaint that the man had followed her couple of times and had even abused her. She said that on the date of the incident, when she was going to the market, the man who was following her on his bicycle, pushed her. She got annoyed but the man continued to follow her and therefore, she started beating him.
The HC noted that besides the woman's statement, there was no other evidence on record. The prosecution, therefore, failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt. The court's below have committed error in not applying the law to the admitted facts and thus rendered incorrect findings, Justice Panare added.