On Tuesday, the Apex Court dismissed the petition for anticipatory bail filed by the accused in an eve-teasing case. An FIR had been filed in relation to the same, and charges under Section 354 of the IPC (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) had been registered.
The Supreme Court bench headed by Justice L. Nageswara Rao was addressing a SLP that opposed the 21st January judgement of the Punjab and Haryana High Court that refused anticipatory bail to the applicant with regards to the FIR that included charges under Sections 354, 506 (criminal intimidation), 341 (wrongful restraint), 34 of the IPC.
A young girl was subjected to indecent comments and eve teasing while being accompanied by her family members. The allegations included in the FIR state that the petitioner displayed offensive behaviour and passed inappropriate remarks. On being confronted by the complainant, the petitioner revealed his name and address without any hesitation and went on to threaten her to do whatever she wanted to. These statements were noted in the impugned judgment by the High Court.
The counsel of the petitioner argued that at best the case tested on charges under sections 354A (sexual harassment) and 509 (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) but could not include Section 354.
He submitted that all the offences were in bailable and the addition of charges under Section 354 only existed to make the whole case non-bailable. The counsel stated, in Tuesday, that at most, indecent comments were passed but there was no actual danger of bodily harm, no assault or criminal force.
The bench also comprising Justice Hemant Gupta questioned the petitioner, “In a public place in Jalandhar, you are teasing a young girl, threatening her family?” He ordered the petitioner to make his arguments applying for regular bail. In conclusion, the bench dismissed the SLP while observing that the applicant is not entitled to anticipatory bail.