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Karnataka HC refuses to grant relief to man who wrote woman's phone number on toilet walls

Justice Nagaprasanna noted that the contentions raised by the petitioner have to be decided in a trial and added that the complaint averments satisfies the ingredients of the offences invoked against the petitioner.
Last Updated : 15 June 2024, 20:37 IST

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Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court refused to quash proceedings against a man accused of scribbling the mobile number of a woman on the walls of the gents' toilet and bus stops at Majestic area of Bengaluru and calling her a "call girl". 

The petitioner was chargesheeted for various offences including IPC section 509 for word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman.

"In today's digital age, one need not cause physical harm, a woman's modesty can be railroaded by sheer circulation of pejorative statements, pictures or videos on social media. It is therefore, when such cases are projected before this court to be quashed, it should not be interfered with, but be dealt with in a stern manner. The petitioner has indulged in one of the ingredients of such insult by fresco or a writing on the wall. He, therefore, cannot get away with making such belittling comments on a woman in public," Justice M Nagaprasanna said, while dismissing the petition filed by Alla Baksha Patel, a resident of Chitradurga.

The complainant in the case is a junior health assistant at a primary health centre. She claimed to have given her mobile number to the officers at the centre. She began getting calls from unknown numbers at odd hours and some callers informed that her mobile number was displayed on the walls of gents' toilet at Majestic bus stand.

The police filed a chargesheet for offences punishable under IPC sections 501 (Printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 507 (Criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication) and 509 (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the IPC.

The petitioner claimed that he wrote the mobile number on the walls at the instance of the complainant's colleague who had a tiff with her. Justice Nagaprasanna noted that the contentions raised by the petitioner have to be decided in a trial and added that the complaint averments satisfies the ingredients of the offences invoked against the petitioner.

"Causing physical harm on a woman is altogether different circumstance and punishable with different offences but intruding into the victim’s privacy, personal integrity would cause a serious psychological harm which sometimes generates more pain to a woman than causing physical harm, as it scars the soul. Therefore, any scatological or salacious statements made against a woman either by gesture, writing or speaking, would undoubtedly amount to insulting the modesty of a woman," the court said.

The court also said that it is open to the prosecution to invoke CrPC section 319 to include the colleague of the complainant as an accused after following due process of law.

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Published 15 June 2024, 20:37 IST

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