Thursday, 30 March 2017

How to frame charge in case of outraging of modesty of woman?

 We express our dis-satisfaction with the language employed in framing the above-noted charge. We also record our disapproval for use of expression "molested" in the charge. The penal provision contained in Section 354 IPC, as noted above, pertains to an offence which is described in law as "assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty". As noted earlier, Section 211 (2) Cr.P.C. mandates that "if the law which creates the offence gives it any specific name, the offence may be described in the charge by that name only".
62. We are conscious that, in general parlance, the word "molest" (of which the word "molested" is the past tense) is also understood to convey "sexual assault or abuse". But, as the following definition of the expression (see Shorter Oxford English Dictionary 6th edition, page No. 1817) would show, it includes possibility of its use in the context of non-sexual harassment as well and does not invariably connote assault or use of criminal force against a woman with intent to outrage her modesty:
―1. Cause trouble to; vex, annoy, inconvenience.
2. Interfere or meddle with (a person or (formerly) a thing) harmfully or with hostile intent. xxx Sexually assault or abuse (a person, esp. A woman or child)‖
63. We may also note here the provision contained in Section 215 Cr.P.C. which deals with the effect of errors in framing the charge. Even a bare reading of the provision makes it abundantly clear that for an error in charge to be treated as "material" so as to vitiate the judicial proceedings, it must be showed that the accused was thereby misled and this has "occasioned a failure of justice".
IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
Pronounced on: 9th December, 2016
 CRL.A. 538/2016
GAYA PRASAD PAL @ MUKESH 
V
STATE 
CORAM:
HON'BLE MS. JUSTICE GITA MITTAL
HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE R.K.GAUBA
Citation: 2017 ALLMR(CRI)JOURNAL1
Read full judgment here: Click here


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