While hearing a case on the subject of outraging the modesty of a woman, the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court ruled that throwing a chit at a married woman for professing love amounts to it and is punishable under the law.
The court said that throwing love chit on a married woman is an insult to her dignity and imposed ₹ 90,000 fine on accused Shrikrushna Tawari, of which ₹ 85,000 is to be paid to the survivor as compensation.
While giving the judgment, the court observed that the modesty of a woman is her ‘most precious jewel’ and there cannot be a ‘straitjacket formula to ascertain whether it’s outraged’ however the very act of throwing a chit on her person which professes love for her and which contains poetic verses is sufficient to outrage the modesty of a woman.
“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 alleged incident was brought to the Nagpur court, on October 3, 2011, when the petitioner, owner of a neighboring grocery shop, approached the 45-year-old complainant 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.
Following the victim’s complaint, 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 ₹ 40,000 fine, of which ₹ 35,000 was to be paid to the woman as compensation.
The accused, however, challenged the verdict by filing a criminal revision application claiming that the survivor had lodged a false complaint as she purchased groceries on credit from his shop and was not willing to pay the amount.
The court dismissed his conviction under Section 506 while noting that the accused deserved a chance to reform and further incarceration is futile.
I have noted that the applicant has already undergone 45 days of incarceration and considering the date of the incident or commission of the offense, I, therefore, find it appropriate to modify the sentence of imprisonment imposed for offenses punishable under Section 354 and 509 of the IPC to the period already undergone," the court added.
The judge, however, increased the fine amount to ₹ 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.