The Mumbai Court ruled that women can be held guilty of outraging another woman’s modesty under Section 354 of IPC.
It is alleged by the prosecution that, accused is the neighbour of the informant. They both are residing in the same building and on the same floor.
The accused suspecting that the informant is informing everything to her mother, and on that count, she used to abuse the informant.
The accused used to quarrel with neighbours. The washroom of the informant is just adjacent to the kitchen of the accused. Therefore, the noise is clearly audible to each other.
The relationship between the informant and the mother of the accused was cordial. On that count, the accused was hating the informant and used to quarrel with her.
Before 10 days of incident, the accused was frequently and indirectly abusing the informant from her kitchen in filthy language. The informant always used to hear the same through her washroom. Theaccused used to abuse in vernacular language. The informant was sure that the accused was abusing her because the father of the informant had performed a second marriage.
The single judge bench of the Metropolitan Magistrate M.V. Chavhan observed that as per the amendment in section 354 IPC there is mandate that, the court shall not award sentence less than one year, but, which may extend to five years.
The court said that the present case is after the date of the above referred amendment. Under such circumstances, the court cannot impose a sentence less than one year under section 354 IPC. Similarly, imprisonment either description for a term which may extend to one year or fine which may extend to Rs.1000/ or with both is provided for the offence punishable under section 323 of Indian Penal Code.
The bench noted that the Investigating Officer thoroughly investigated the crime and filed a charge sheet before the Court. In view of the discussions, the court already came to the conclusion that though the offence under section 324 Indian Penal Code is not proved, offence U/sec. 323 IPC is clearly attracted and proved against the accused. The evidence that came on record was sufficient to hold that by doing such acts, the accused had outraged the modesty of the informant.
The court held the accused guilty of the offence punishable under section 323 and 354 IPC. As far as applicability of provision of Probation of Offender Act 1958 is concerned, the court was of the view that the accused is not entitled to get the benefit under the said Act, because the offence is against the woman, her modesty and character. The accused being a woman should be protective and sensitive towards the informant.
The court sentenced the accused to suffer rigorous imprisonment for three months and to pay a fine of Rs. 1,000/ in default to suffer rigorous imprisonment for one month in respect of offence punishable under section 323 IPC.
It further sentenced the accused to suffer rigorous imprisonment for one year and to pay a fine of Rs. 5,000/ in default to suffer rigorous imprisonment for six months in respect of offence punishable under section 354 IPC.
Case title: State of Maharashtra v/s Rovena @ Aadnya Amit Bhosle