The Delhi High Court expressed Aguish on trivializing the offence of sexual harassment.
The Petitioner, who is an Assistant Professor at the University of Delhi, had gone to his hometown with his family, and during this time, the cemented water tank that had been constructed for his flat on the rooftop, was demolished by one Mrs. Meena Kumar/Respondent.
The Respondent subsequently constructed a room and toilet, and in the process, broke the pipe that would be used to supply water from the water tank to the Petitioner’s flat. When the Petitioner returned, he was shocked to see that there was no water and when he objected to the illegality of the constructions, Respondent and her family assured the Petitioner that they would reconstruct it. However, they failed to do so and the Petitioner installed a plastic water tank with his own money.
Advocate Kumar Piyush Pushkar, appearing for the Petitioner, contended that the instant FIR deserves to be quashed as the same has been lodged with a mala fide intent and is an attempt to coerce and arm-twist the Petitioner into withdrawing the complaint that has been lodged by the Petitioner’s wife against the son of Respondent, Jatin who is a habitual offender.
Advocate Ashish Aggarwal, ASC for the State, argued that the Petitioner and his wife are habitual complainants and that both of them have filed several complaints regarding the construction that has taken place in their neighborhood.
The single judge bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad stated that it is not necessary that a meticulous analysis of the case should be done before the trial to find out whether the case would end in conviction or acquittal. If it appears on a reading of the complaint and consideration of the allegations therein, in light of the statement made on oath that the ingredients of the offense are disclosed, there would be no justification for the High Court to interfere.
The court observed that the contents of the FIR are sketchy in nature and are void of any specifics regarding the offenses which have allegedly been committed.
The court expressed its anguish at how provisions such as Sections 354A/506 IPC are falsely invoked at the drop of a hat to register one’s displeasure at the conduct of another individual. This merely trivialises the offence of sexual harassment and casts a doubt on the veracity of the allegations filed by every other victim who has in reality faced sexual harassment, thereby setting back the cause of women empowerment.
The court deemed it fit to exercise its inherent power to quash the FIR under Sections 354A/506 IPC to prevent the abuse of the process of any Court and to secure the ends of justice.
Case title: Dr Karunakar Patra v/s State
Citation: W.P.(CRL) 502/2021 & CRL.M.A. 3511/2021