False invocation of Ss. 354A, 506 IPC merely trivalises offence of sexual harassment casting doubt on veracity of allegations by victim who has in reality faced sexual harassment: Del HC

Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court: Subramonium Prasad, J., expressed its anguish at how provisions such as Sections 354A/506 of Penal Code, 1860 are falsely invoked at the drop of a hat to register one’s displeasure at the conduct of another individual.

Instant petition was filed under Article 226/227 of the Constitution of India read with Section 482 CrPC seeking the quashing of an FIR registered under Sections 354A/506 of the Penal Code, 1860.

Analysis, Law and Decision

High Court expressed that Supreme Court has time and again laid down the parameters that must be adhered to by a High Court while exercising its inherent power under Section 482 CrPC to quash an FIR. Along with the parameters, it has been consistently observed by the Supreme Court that the inherent power in a matter of quashment of FIR has to be exercised sparingly and with caution, and only when such exercise if justified by the test laid down in the provision itself.

Supreme Court in the decision of State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335, provided a precise, clearly defined set of inflexible guidelines laying down instances where such an inherent power could be exercised for quashing of an FIR.

Hence,

“…quashing of criminal proceedings is called for only in a case where the complaint does not disclose any offence, or is frivolous, vexatious, or oppressive.”

 In the present matter, the content of the FIR looked sketchy and were void of any specifics regarding the offences which were allegedly committed.

Adding to the above, Court found that on a reading of the Status report also nothing regarding the offences was revealed.

As per the Status report,

“…the Petitioner and his wife were habitual complainants and have filed multiple complaints against the construction that would take place in the neighbourhood, and therefore, it is 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.”

 High Court expressed its anguish at how provisions such as Section 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.

Therefore, Bench found the present matter fit for exercising its inherent power to quash the FIR. [Dr Karunakar Patra v. State,    2022 SCC OnLine Del 245, decided on 24-1-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For the petitioner: Kumar Piyush Pushkar, Advocate

For the respondent: Chirag Khurana, Advocate,

Ashsish Aggarwal, ASC for the State,

Madhusudhan Bhayana Advocate for the Complainant/Respondent 2

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