Throwing 'Love' Chit At Married Woman Is Outraging Modesty: High Court

The Bombay High Court said the modesty of a woman is her "most precious jewel" and there cannot be a "straitjacket formula to ascertain whether it's outraged".

Throwing 'Love' Chit At Married Woman Is Outraging Modesty: High Court

The Bombay High Court slapped Rs 90,000 fine on the accused (File)

Nagpur:

The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court has ruled that throwing a chit at a married woman for professing love amounts to outraging her modesty.

The Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court has given a strict order while hearing a case related to a married woman. The court said that throwing love chit on a married woman is an insult to her dignity.

The trial court also slapped Rs 90,000 fine on accused Shrikrushna Tawari, of which Rs 85,000 is to be paid to the survivor as compensation.

While upholding the conviction, the High Court added that the modesty of a woman is her "most precious jewel" and there cannot be a "straitjacket formula to ascertain whether it's outraged".

"The complainant is a married woman, aged 45 years and the very act of throwing a chit on her person which professes love for her and which contains poetic verses, albeit extremely, purely written is sufficient to outrage the modesty of a woman," the court said.

The judge said that he had no reason to disbelieve the evidence of the complainant that the applicant threw a chit on her person containing objectionable material.

"No-fault can be found with the concurrent finding that the applicant did outrage her modesty. The evidence of Mrs "S" that the applicant used to flirt, make gestures like pouting of lips, on occasions used to hit her with small pebbles is confidence-inspiring and in the exercise of revisional jurisdiction, I would be loathe to disagree with the concurrent findings of Courts below based on the appreciation of evidence on record," the court added.

The incident happened on October 3, 2011, when the petitioner, owner of a neighbouring grocery shop, approached her when she was washing utensils and tried to hand over a chit. After she refused to accept it, he threw it at her and left muttering "I love you". The next day, he made obscene gestures and warned her not to disclose the chit contents.

On the basis of the report, Civil Lines Police Station, Akola registered offences punishable under Sections 354, 506 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The sessions court convicted him under Sections 354, 509 and 506 of IPC and sentenced him to two years of rigorous imprisonment on June 21, 2018, and also slapped a Rs 40,000 fine, of which Rs 35,000 was to be paid to the woman as compensation.

Tawari challenged the verdict by filing a criminal revision application contending that the survivor had lodged a false complaint as she purchased groceries on credit from his shop and was not inclined to pay the amount.

While striking down his conviction under Section 506, the court observed that he deserved a chance to reform and further incarceration is not likely to be of any avail.

"I have noted that the applicant has already undergone 45 days of incarceration and considering the date of the incident or commission of the offence, as the provisions of the law stood then, there was no minimum sentence provided for an offence punishable under Section 354 of the IPC. It is only by the 2013 amendment that a minimum sentence is provided. I, therefore, find it appropriate to modify the sentence of imprisonment imposed for offences punishable under Section 354 and 509 of the IPC to the period already undergone," the court added.

The judge, however, enhanced the fine amount to Rs 90,000 and told the petitioner to deposit it in the trial court within 15 days and shall file in the registry an affidavit of compliance.

"The trial Magistrate shall ensure that the victim/informant is made aware of this judgment and that the enhanced fine is duly paid to her, and if, due to death or any other reason, the victim/ first informant is not available, to her legal heirs," the court further added.