Sikk HC | Unwelcome “sexual advances” by a Teacher; Person using criminal force upon a woman with intention or knowledge that her modesty would be outraged should be punished

Sikkim High Court: A Division Bench of Meenakshi Madan Rai and Bhaskar Raj Pradhan, JJ., while addressing a case of offence under Section 354 A of Penal Code, 1860 for sexual harassment of a student by the teacher, held that,

If any person uses criminal force upon any woman with the intention or knowledge that woman’s modesty will be outraged he is to be punished.

Applicant filed the present application praying to be released on probation under Section 4 and 12 of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 read with Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Senior Counsel B. Sharma submitted on behalf of the applicant that he is of good character and good conduct.  He is also suffering from various ailments and considering that the penalty is imposed under Section 354A IPC, he be released on probation.

Further, Public Prosecutor submitted that the respondent had made no grounds to establish that he satisfied the ingredients of Section 4 of the probation of Offenders Act.

He also placed reliance on Ajahar Ali v. State of W.B.,(2013) 10 SCC 31 it was contended that the offence committed therein was one under Section 354 IPC, Supreme Court held that it was a heinous crime and the modesty of the woman had to be strongly guarded and refused to grant the relief under Section 4 of the Probation of Offenders Act.

Decision

Bench stated that from the submission of the respondent’s counsel it is clear that no grounds were made by him to establish the good character of the offender or that consideration ought to be taken of the nature of the offence.

Respondent used criminal force upon the victim which by no stretch of imagination can it be stated to be decent behaviour. Further, the Court added that, as Public Prosecutor pointed out in the decision of Ajay Tiwari v. University of Delhi, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 11360, it was held that the,

teacher should be more like a “loco parentis” and that is the duty, responsiblity and cahrge expected of a teacher.

In the present case, the student was subjected to unwelcome sexual advances of respondent her teacher.

Thus, it is clear that offences of sexual harassment to a woman cannot be taken lightly and should be dealt sternly, therefore, the prayer of the respondent stands rejected. [State of Sikkim v. Sashidhar Sharma, 2020 SCC OnLine Sikk 7, decided on 19-02-2020]

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