Prosecution Hasn’t Proved That Moving Hand Over Victims’ Back & Head Would Amount To Outraging Modesty: Bombay HC Sets Aside Conviction
The Bombay High Court has set aside the conviction and sentence imposed on a man who was booked for outraging the modesty of a minor girl.
The bench of Justice Bharati Dangre observed that the applicant-convict must get the benefit of doubt since the prosecution failed to prove that the act of moving his hand over the back and head of the victim necessarily fell within the purview of Section 354 and Section 451 of Indian Penal Code.
In this case, the mother of the victim girl had alleged that while her daughter was all alone at home, the accused entered the house on the pretext of handing over documents and that although her daughter objected to his entry by protesting that her mother was not at home, he gained entry into the house and asked for drinking water.
When the victim offered him water, he allegedly rolled his hand over her back and head and uttered the words “you have grown up so much”.
It was stated that this scared the victim and she shouted for help, people in her neighborhood came to her rescue.
Advocate Amol Hunge appeared for the accused whereas APP V.A. Thakre appeared for the State.
The High Court observed that in order to outrage the modesty of a woman, the most important is having the intention to outrage the modesty. The Court noted that it was not the case of the prosecution that the accused did something more than what has been alleged, that is, moving his hand over the back and head of the victim.
The Court added that neither the victim girl spoke of any bad intention on his part.
“In absence of a specific intention, being established by the prosecution, being to outrage the modesty, it is not understood as to how Section 354 has been invoked and even held to be proved, with the specific version that the victim was frightened on the accused touching her on her back and saying that she has grown up.”, the Court observed.
The Court also noted that the testimony of the witnesses is full of inconsistencies which made the prosecution case doubtful.
The Court held that “…the applicant must get the benefit of doubt since the prosecution has failed to prove that the act complained of, necessarily fell within the purview of Section 354 and Section 451 IPC.”
Accordingly, the Order of conviction and sentence imposed on the accused was set aside.
Cause Title- Mayur v. The State of Maharashtra