The Delhi High Court has expressed anguish at false complaints of sexual harassment made at the drop of a hat and said that such incidents trivialise the offence and hamper the cause of women’s empowerment.
Justice Subramonium Prasad, while quashing an FIR registered against the petitioner, an Assistant Professor at the University of Delhi, for the alleged commission of offences under Sections 354A (sexual harassment)/506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC, stated that false allegations cast a doubt on the veracity of complaints filed by real victims of sexual harassment.
“This Court expresses its anguish at how provisions such as Sections 354A/506 IPC are falsely invoked at the drop of a hat to register one’s displeasure at the conduct of another individual. This merely trivialises the offence of sexual harassment and casts a doubt on the veracity of the allegations filed by every other victim who has in reality faced sexual harassment, thereby setting back the cause of women empowerment,” the judge said in a recent order.
The FIR was registered against the petitioner pursuant to a dispute with his neighbour over allegedly illegal construction.
The petitioner claimed that in response to a complaint made by him against the complainant neighbour for abusing and threatening him and his wife, the complainant filed the FIR against him.
The court said the perusal of the material on record revealed that the contents of the FIR were sketchy and without any specifics regarding the offences which prima facie indicated that it arose from bald allegations and contradictory statements.
“A comprehensive reading of the matter at hand reveals that the impugned FIR was merely a counterblast and was solely registered to arm-twist the Petitioner and his wife into withdrawing the complaints that had been filed against Respondent No.2 (complainant) and her family,” it added.
The court further observed that the petitioner filed several complaints in relation to the construction in his neighbourhood and it was evident that the instant FIR was maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the Petitioner, and with a view to spite him and his wife due to a private and personal grudge.
The court stated that it deemed it fit to exercise its inherent power to quash the FIR to prevent the abuse of the process of any court and to secure the ends of justice.