A Delhi court has upheld the order of a magisterial court to charge a man with sexual harassment for using a commonly used English expletive to threaten a woman. The court observed that there was a prima facie case of the petitioner using the word with the intent to insult the modesty of the complainant.
The court was hearing a criminal revision case filed by the petitioner, against whom a Mahila Court in August 2022 had ordered framing charges under sections 354 A (sexual harassment and its punishment) 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
According to the complainant, the accused used the expletive "f**k off" and threatened her on May 9, 2019. "This court does not find any material illegality, irregularity or jurisdictional error in the impugned order framing charges... Accordingly, the criminal revision petition filed by the petitioner is dismissed," Additional Sessions Judge Sanjay Sharma said in a recent order.
The court noted that the complainant had specifically alleged that the accused used the expletive, besides using an abusive phrase in Hindi.
"The said word is an offensive word and in Indian society, schools or colleges, this word is not used to ask anyone to leave or go away. In the ordinary sense, the said word is abusive, offensive and humiliating," the sessions court said.
Rejecting the argument that the dictionary meaning of the word was to leave or go away, the court said that the said word in fact was a "sexually coloured remark". Besides, given the facts and circumstances of the incident, it could not be said that the petitioner was merely intending to ask the complainant to leave or go away, the court said. The court further said that the complainant had specifically stated that the petitioner asked her to shut up and sit in a corner and also threatened her.
"There is sufficient ground for proceeding against the petitioner for the offences...," the court said.
The Chandni Mahal police station in central district had registered an FIR against the accused on the basis of the complainant's statement.