9 years after FIR, court convicts man

New Delhi: Almost nine years after an FIR was lodged in the matter, a court here has convicted a man for the offence of using abusive words to insult the modesty of a woman, saying it was evident from the record that “outrageous and demeaning words” were uttered by the accused in the office, intending to be heard by everyone and also to insult the victim’s modesty.

Metropolitan Magistrate Vijayshree Rathore was hearing the case against Mahesh Kumar Panwar, a former accountant of a private firm who was accused of insulting the modesty of the complainant, an interior designer, by “uttering outrageous words” on April 3, 2014.

“The fact is that the accused had uttered the words ... which any prudent person would generally not utter to any female. The above words are ... outrageous and demeaning to the dignity of the lady and it is also evident from the record that such words were uttered by the accused in the office, intending to be heard by everyone present there and also to insult the modesty of the victim,” the magistrate said. “I hold that the prosecution has successfully proved its case against the

accused, Mahesh Kumar Panwar, beyond all reasonable doubts under section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code. The accused is accordingly convicted,” she added in her order passed recently.

The arguments on sentencing will be heard on April 28.

Regarding what constituted an insult to a woman’s modesty, the magistrate said, “It is common knowledge that any words, spoken or sung, picture or figure exhibited, which suggests lewd thoughts, is immoral and insulting to female modesty unless the woman is a consenting party to it.”

Elaborating further, the magistrate said if such an indecent act was unobserved by all except the victim, it would not be an excuse for the offence, nor did it matter if the act was committed in the presence of several women and some of them did not object to it.

The court said the complainant had clearly deposed that when Panwar came to the office for the settlement of salary, he overheard her conversation with another colleague and started abusing her.

“The said fact had remained uncontroverted in the cross-examination. Despite extensive cross-examination and grilling, the testimony of the complainant had remained unimpeached in this regard,” the court observed.

It said the victim’s version was duly corroborated by the testimony of a prosecution witness, according to which, Panwar hurled abuses at the victim, used unparliamentary language towards her and threatened

her with dire consequences.

The complainant’s statement recorded under the relevant provision of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) further corroborated her testimony, besides strengthening her version, and no discrepancies were found, the court observed.

“It is further pertinent to mention that there was a prompt 100 number call after the incident, which further strengthens the version of the story of the complainant that the incident had actually occurred and the accused had insulted her modesty.

“Thus, it is proved that the accused had insulted the modesty of the complainant by uttering outrageous and insulting words,” it said.

The court, however, acquitted Panwar of the offence of criminal intimidation, saying there was “no cogent material” to prove the charge.

The Hauz Khas police station had registered

the FIR against Panwar under sections 509 and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC in April 2014.

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