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Even If Not Committed In Public Place, Harassment Of Women Will Still Be An Offence : Madras HC

In a recent verdict, the Madras High Court rejected a plea that argued that sexual harassment Of Women Will Be An Offence even if not done in public. According to the Bench, harassing a woman would still be regarded as harassment under section 354 of the IPC. When debating a motion to overturn the final report against the accused, the Bench of Justice RN Manjula made this statement.

Crux Of The Case

A guy named Sivaramakrishnan had filed a plea with the Metropolitan Magistrate court requesting the dismissal of the official report against him. The petitioner is accused of assaulting the sister and de facto plaintiff over a parking issue and intimidating the de facto complainant on an underlying civil lawsuit.  This suggests that the petitioner was accused of violating the following IPC Sections:

  • 341
  • 294(b)
  • 323
  • 506(i)

Not only this but even Section 4 of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment Act.  The petitioner claimed that the alleged offence didn’t take place in a public place, but rather within the house. He claimed that it would be impossible to show the infringement as the TN act talks about how harassment should take place in public area.

The Court Observation

The Court acknowledged that the trial had already begun and that only a few witnesses had been questioned. According to the respondent’s claim, the offence happened on a public path rather than at home or in a very public place.

Therefore, the Court determined that the only way to select the people’s exact location was during the trial through witness testimony. Furthermore, the evidence was showing that the crime is violating Sections and the 2002 Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment Act. The Court rejected the appeal after concluding that it was premature to request the materials be withheld.

“Public Place” Explanation

The Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act discusses the penalties for harassing women. According to the law, anyone who engages in or supports harassment of a woman while it is occurring on the property of a school, temple, or other places of worship, bus stop, road, theatre, park, beach, festival, public service vehicle or vessel, or any different location, will be subject to a term of incarceration. Additionally, a fine of at least a thousand rupees must be paid, and it may be extended to three years.

To Conclude

The Madras High Court’s decision in Anbazhagan v. The State, supported 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 legislature’s intention to punish offences committed in public areas is evident from the language employed in the Act, the Court noted in another verdict.

The respondents, however, argued that the purpose of the particular Act was to stop harassment and that the location of the incident did not matter. The Inspector of Police relied on Basheer Ahamed and others v. State, rep. In this regard, the Madras High Court noted that the joint reading of Sections 3 and 4 would demonstrate that the legislature’s objective was to prevent harassment at all times. The petitioner has not made out any challenges, the Court noted, except for the technical interpretation.

Additionally, even if the crime or harassment Of Women Will Be An Offence, even if not done in public., it would still be considered a crime under the IPC.


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