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Criminal Force applied on a woman with intention to outrage her modesty completes Section 354 of IPC. : Jharkhand High Court

The offence under Section 354 of the I.P.C. is complete when the accused uses criminal force on any woman intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty was mentioned by Justice Anubha Rawat Choudhary of the Jharkhand High Court in the matter of Rita Devi Wife of Triloki Das versus State of Jharkhand [Cr. Rev. No. 949 of 2013]

This order was passed for the facts where the petitioner was convicted under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code by the learned trial court but was acquitted for an offence under Section 323 of the Indian Penal Code, according to learned counsel standing on behalf of the petitioner. He also claims that the State or the informant did not file a cross-appeal or acquittal appeal against the petitioner’s acquittal under Section 323 of the Indian Penal Code. He contends that the learned appellate court could not have convicted the petitioner under Section 323 of the Indian Penal Code in the absence of any cross or acquittal appeal filed by the State or the informant. The appellate court, according to the learned counsel, convicted the petitioner under Section 323 of the I.P.C. and upheld the petitioner’s conviction and sentence under Section 354 of the I.P.C. passed by the learned trial court.

At this point, learned counsel for the opposing party, the State, contends that after reading para 9 of the appellate court’s decision, it is clear that the learned appellate court has upheld the petitioner’s conviction by the learned trial court, and that the petitioner was convicted by the learned trial court for an offence under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code. He also claims that the petitioner was convicted under Section 323 of the Indian Penal Code by the appellate court. The learned counsel for the State contends that the reference to Section 345 rather than 354 in paragraph 9 of the appellate court’s judgement is most likely a clerical error, as the appellate court clearly notes the trial court’s upholding of the petitioner’s conviction.

According to the case record, the complainant and the petitioner are co-villagers, and the petitioner is the complainant’s next-door neighbour. It is claimed that on the night of March 22, 2007, at approximately 11 p.m., the complainant came out of her residence with her dewar to attend to her natural call. Meanwhile, the petitioner, armed with a pistol, trespassed into the complainant’s courtyard, having made preparations to cause harm, and pointed the pistol at the complainant’s head by using criminal force, and the accused caught the complainant’s hand and began dragging her with the intention of outraging her modesty. The complainant raised an alert and opposed the petitioner’s illegal act with her dewar; nonetheless, the petitioner beat the complainant and her dewar with fists and slaps, causing harm. It is further claimed that another witness, the complainant’s husband, arrived on the scene after the complainant raised the alarm and that the petitioner then fled, leaving behind his shoe. It was also revealed that C.W. 3 and 4, the complainant’s father-in-law and mother-in-law, were in Bengal at the time of the incident. They came after receiving information and went to the Madhupur police station, but the police did not file a case, and the complaint was eventually made. The petitioner was charged with violating Sections 323, 354 and 452 of the Indian Penal Code on March 26, 2007, in the court of learned S.D.J.M., Madhupur at Deoghar, and the case was registered as P.C.R. Case No. 96 of 2007.

In terms of the learned appellate court’s conviction and sentence of the petitioner under Section 323 of the Indian Penal Code, this Court finds that, while the learned trial court did not convict the petitioner under Section 323 of the IPC, the appellate court found that the basic ingredients of the offence under Section 323 of the Indian Penal Code were present and that the trial court had erred. The state and the informant did not submit a cross-appeal against the petitioner’s acquittal under Section 323 IPC, and the impugned appellate court judgement does not represent an opportunity for the petitioner to be heard at the appellate stage. This Court is of the considered opinion that the appeal court could not have convicted the petitioner under Section 323 IPC in the aforementioned circumstances, and has reversed the petitioner’s acquittal under that section. As a result of the appeal court’s decision, revisional jurisdiction should be exercised in relation to the petitioner’s conviction and sentence under Section 323 IPC. In light of the foregoing, the petitioner’s conviction and punishment under Section 323 IPC by the appeal court is hereby set aside.

As a result, the petitioner’s sentence and conviction under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code are affirmed, whereas the appeal court’s sentence and conviction under Section 323 of the Indian Penal Code are set aside. As a result, this criminal revision petition is granted in part. If there is a pending interlocutory application, it is now closed. The bail bond given by the petitioner is revoked.

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