MUMBAI: Observing that the act of holding a woman’s hand and pulling it close amounts to outraging her modesty, a magistrate’s court this week convicted and sentenced a now 28-year-old man to one year simple imprisonment for attacking his former girlfriend in 2014.
The court said the defence of a previous love affair did not entitle him to conduct himself in such a manner. “It is pertinent to note here that the offence alleged is against a woman and nobody dares to commit such an act or offence in a public place. Hence, non-availability of an eyewitness will not be fatal to the prosecution case,” said Metropolitan Magistrate Kranti M Pingle.
The court refused to let off the accused on a bond of good behaviour under the Probation of Offenders Act. The magistrate quoted a high court judgment, which observed that an accused convicted for such an offence cannot be released on probation keeping in view the act of outraging the modesty of the woman.
“It would not only encourage further escalation of the crime, but would also become difficult to check or arrest the preparation of those crimes and imperil the modesty of several innocent women. Under these circumstances, the court has to be circumspect in extending the beneficial provision to the offences committed on the weaker section, viz women,” the high court had said.
The magistrate said hence the benefit of probation cannot be granted to the accused.
The accused, who was the woman’s neighbour, had sought leniency on the grounds that he had since married another woman and now had a two-year-old child. The court said leniency could be shown in sentencing. “Considering the present situation of the accused and the occurrence of the incident in the year 2014, seven years are lapsed. During that period, the accused got married and has a two-year kid. Hence, it is not justified to impose severe punishment upon him though he has committed a grave mistake, the period lapsed has to be considered,” the magistrate said.
The accused was also fined Rs 5,000.
Among the four prosecution witnesses were the woman, her father, uncle and the investigating officer. The woman said the incident took place on September 20, 2014, on the building’s staircase. An FIR was lodged and the accused arrested and granted bail.