The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court dismissed a plea by a 36-year-old man Parmeshwar Dhage from Maharashtra’s Jalna district challenging his conviction for outraging the modesty of the victim. The accused was convicted by a trial court for touching the feet of a woman in her sleep.
The single-judge bench of Justice M.G. Sewlikar upheld the verdict of the magistrate court which sentenced the accused to a year in prison.
The magistrate court’s order had convicted the accused, Dhage of offences punishable under sections 451 (house trespass in order to commit offence punishable with imprisonments) and 354-A (1) (physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures).
The bench dismissed the plea filed by the accused saying that he violated the modesty of a woman.
“Touching any part of the body of a woman without her consent, that too in the dead hour of the night, by a stranger amounts to violation of modesty of a woman. The applicant did not enter the house of the victim with any sublime motive. He had ensured in the evening from the victim that her husband would not be present in the house at night. This clearly indicates that the applicant had gone there with sexual intent and violated the modesty of the informant. Therefore, the trial court did not commit any error in holding that the applicant had molested the victim.”
Advocate Pratik Bhosle, representing the accused claimed that the door of the house was not bolted from inside which indicates that he entered the house with the consent of the victim.
Bhosle also questioned the delay of 12 hours in filing the FIR.
However, the court said that the victim waited for her husband’s arrival, she wanted to discuss the matter with her husband before taking any step and that “cannot be faulted with.”
The victim had lodged an FIR on July 4, 2014 against the accused. According to the victim, she and her grandmother-in-law were alone in their house when around 8 pm, the accused visited the victim’s house and asked about her husband return to which the victim answered that her husband is out of town and would not return at night.
The accused went home and returned against at around 11 pm in the night while the victim and her grandmother-in-law were sleeping. She had left the door open without bolting it from inside as the bolt was not working. She felt someone touching her feet, she woke up and found that the accused was sitting near her feet on her cot. The victim shouted, the accused ran away. After that she informed her husband about the incident over call. Her husband returned back the next morning and lodged the police report against the accused.
The Court observed that the accused shocked the sense of decency of the woman and the behaviour smacks of sexual intent.
“In case at hand, the applicant was sitting at the feet of the victim and had touched her feet and was sitting on her cot. This behaviour smacks of sexual intent. Otherwise, there was no reason for the applicant to be in the house of the victim at such an odd hour of the night.”
The High Court refused to reject the decision of the lower court and upheld the verdict.