New Delhi, March 13 : : The Delhi High Court has noted that the time has come to initiate action against persons who file frivolous complaints on sexual harassment for ulterior purposes, noting that it is now becoming a trend to register FIRs alleging such offences.
Justice Subramonium Prasad made the observations on a petition seeking quashing of FIR in a matter where an alleged fight regarding parking escalated to levelling allegation of outraging modesty of women and sexual harassment. The matter was later settled orally.
The duo approached the court to quash the FIR filed under section Sections 509 (insult the modesty of any woman), 506 (criminal intimidation), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint), 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354A (Sexual harassment) and 34 (common intention) of IPC.
The court, however, noted that it is now becoming a trend to register FIRs alleging offences under Sections 354, 354A, 354B (Assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 354C (Voyeurism), 354D (stalking) of IPC either to force a party from withdrawing a complaint instituted against them or to arm twist a party.
Offences under Sections 354, 354A, 354B, 354C, 354D IPC are serious offences, the court said, adding that such allegations have the effect of tarnishing the image of the person against whom such allegations are made.
“Allegations regarding these offences cannot be made at a drop of a hat. This practice is an abuse of the process of law. The instant case is a classic example as to how frivolous allegations of Section 354 and 354A have been levelled by the parties against each other,” Justice Subramonium Prasad said.
This court can take judicial notice of the fact that police personnel have to spend time in investigating frivolous cases. They have to attend court proceedings and prepare Status Report. “The result is that investigation in serious offences gets compromised and accused escape because of shoddy investigation.”
The court said that the time has come to initiate action against persons who file frivolous complaints under Sections 354, 354A, 354B, 354C, 354D IPC etc. only for ulterior purpose.
Some of the petitioners in these petitions are students who should understand not to take courts and the police for granted and assume that anything and everything can be settled and they can get away by filing false cases, it added.
Since the Police have had to spend valuable time in investigating the offence and considerable time was spent by the Court in the criminal proceedings, the Court imposed cost of Rs. 30,000 on both the petitioners with a warning not to file false and frivolous cases in the future.