Quashing of FIR registered on charges of sexual harassment merely on apology would set a bad precedent: Delhi HC

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of R.K. Gauba, J. dismissed a petition filed under Section 482 CrPC for quashing of FIR registered under Sections 354-A, 354-D and 509 IPC.

The first informant was a married woman. Her husband was running a bad health and she was constrained to look for gainful employment. With help of the petitioner, she started working in a private company where the petitioner was also employed as a supervisor. In the FIR, the first informant narrated incidents where the petitioner made indecent proposals to her; made unwanted physical contacts and advances with sexual overtures; and passed sexually coloured remarks. Such acts amount to sexual harassment under Section 354-A IPC. The allegations also indicated assault on the person of first informant, knowing fully well that thereby her modesty was being outraged.

The High Court took note of the new criminal law as amended after the public outcry in wake of certain serious crimes involving sexual assaults. The Court was of the view that such offences, as mentioned in the FIR reflect mental depravity, to say the least. The petitioner was trying to take undue advantage of a helpless and hapless woman. Women and girls cannot be allowed to become easy prey for lecherous kind in civilised society. Relying on the Supreme Court decision in Parbatbhai Ahir v. State of Gujarat, (2017) 9 SCC 641, the Court held that the first informant, having done her duty as an awakened citizen, cannot now put a lid on the matter. The case goes beyond her personal grouse. Allowing such charges to be quashed only because the petitioner may have apologised to her would not only trivialize the issue but also set a bad precedent. Having regard to the aforementioned, the Court declined to entertain the prayer in the petition. The petition was, hence, dismissed. [Roshan Lal v. State (NCT of Delhi),2018 SCC OnLine Del 10704, dated 27-07-2018]

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