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Women’s dignity must be protected both at home and office: HC

Stating that modesty, honour, dignity and reputation of a woman has to be protected at all places including her home and office, the Bombay High Court has upheld the conviction of an employee of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation for molesting a colleague at work.

Justice S C Dharmadhikari last week dismissed an appeal filed by Nandkumar Sonawane, a depot manager with MSRTC at the time of the incident, against the six months’ sentence awarded by the lower court in September 2011.

According to the prosecution, on 17 August, 2002, he molested the victim in the watchman’s cabin of MSRTC depot at Nalasopara, Thane district. The victim worked in the same depot as a clerk.

‘Cases of outraging the modesty of woman at workplaces are increasing. The honour, dignity and reputation of a woman so also her modesty has to be safeguarded and protected at all places, home and office included. Else, no work place will be safe for her,’ Justice Dharmadhikari observed in his ruling.

He further said that such incidents will discourage women from taking up job, and it was the duty of all to ensure that women feel safe and secure.

Advocate K P Anilkumar, the accused’s lawyer, argued that Sonawane had been implicated by the victim, because he had transferred her. Anilkumar also questioned the delay in filing of FIR: the alleged incident had taken place in the morning while the complaint was lodged at night.

The High Court, however, did not accept this argument and said the victim must have consulted her family and colleagues before approaching the police. ‘The victim has stood by her statement before the police and the trial court. The victim’s version is reliable, truthful and capable of being relied upon,’ the court said.
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