Women's reputations in society are maintained like priceless jewels, and as a result, they are reluctant to report sexual offenses. HC Bombay

Women's reputations in society are maintained like priceless jewels, and as a result, they are reluctant to report sexual offenses. HC Bombay

An order of the magistrate court that had exonerated the accused for insulting the appellant's modesty was recently overturned by a single-judge Bombay High Court panel led by Justice GA Sanap, who noted that women's reputations and character in our society "are preserved and protected like invaluable jewels" and that they are "reluctant to come out in open against such a crime."

"It should be mentioned that in such situations, one must keep in mind that a woman's character and reputation in our culture are safeguarded and cherished like priceless diamonds. Since this crime has the potential to directly harm someone's reputation and character, women in our culture and those close to them are hesitant to speak out against it. So, an effort is made to conceal such incidents as much as possible in our conservative culture, according to the order.

A criminal revision application submitted by a Zilla Parishad assistant teacher was being heard in court. She said that the accused put his hand on her shoulder and pulled it up to her waist while she worked on the tasks he had given her. She said that the accused begged her for sexual favors and pulled her saree as she attempted to exit the room.

Moreover, it was claimed that the accused had repeatedly touched the woman's torso and shoulder in an obscene way. Also, when she went to the restroom on one of the following days, the accused was inside hiding. She told her husband, who then reported the incident to the Women Grievance Redressal Committee, which found that the accused had committed a major offense and filed a FIR.

When the accused applied for release before the magistrate court, the court granted the motion on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to assume that he had committed the crime.

The discharge was not taken into consideration in accordance with the law, thus the high court overturned the magistrate's ruling.

"In my opinion, it becomes evident that the learned Magistrate's approach was not legal if the information on file is considered in contrast to this established stance. In deciding on the discharge application, the learned Magistrate conducted a thorough investigation and valued the merits-related evidence. That is not allowed," the court ruled.

The court said that there was no justification for defaming the teacher's reputation in society.

"The assistant teacher is the informant. She had no need to damage her reputation or image in society. She described the same incident in her report. It's also important to note that the learned Magistrate referred to her report as being fake. In my opinion, it is not permitted at the discharge stage. The ruling emphasized that it is common law that a conviction might be reached on the strength of the testimony of a single, excellent witness.