In a recent judgment dated 28.10.2022, the Madras High Court has held that harassment of a woman would still be an offence punishable under Section 354 IPC, even if not done in a public place. The matter was between M.R.Sivaramakrishnan v State and another (Crl.O.P No.18261 of 2021 And Crl.M.P Nos.10016 & 10017 of 2021) and was presided over by The Hon’ble Ms. Justice R.N. Manjula.
FACTS OF THE CASE:
A Criminal Original Petition was filed under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code, praying to quash the final report filed in C.C No.159 of 2017 pending on the file of the learned Metropolitan Magistrate.
The petitioner is said to have intimidated the de facto complaint regarding an ongoing civil lawsuit while also harassing the sister and de facto complainant in connection with a parking issue. As a result, the petitioner was accused of violating IPC Sections 341, 294(b), 323, and 506(i) as well as Section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 2002.
The Madras High Court concluded that harassment of a woman would still be an offence punishable under Section 354 IPC while rejecting a plea to quash the final report with regard to a sexual harassment case on the grounds that the harassment did not occur in a public place.
The court agreed that there were sufficient materials to charge the petitioner for the offences under Sections 341, 294(b), 323, 506(i) of IPC and Section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 2002.
The Madras High Court’s decision in Anbazhagan v. State , represented by the Inspector of Police, in which the court applied the Ejusdem Generis principle and declared that only offences committed in public places would be considered offences under the Act, was cited by the petitioners.
The petitioner has not brought out any challenges, the court said, with the exception of the technical interpretation. Additionally, even if the crime was not committed in a public area, it would still be considered a crime under the IPC.
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JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY ADITI PRIYADARSHI