Karnataka High Court

Karnataka High Court: In deliberating over the instant matter wherein the petitioner had challenged the order passed by the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate rejecting to discharge him from the charges of sexual harassment and fraud levelled by the complainant, the Bench of M. Nagaprasanna*, J., expressed his disbelief at the probability of any sexual contact or offence in open places- “The places of sexual contact that is depicted in the complaint is what shocks. The places are at Mindtree office, Forum Mall-Koramangala, Barton Center, all of which are open places. The petitioner sexually abusing the complainant in such open places cannot but be an allegation that is highly improbable”. Invoking State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335, the Court decided to obliterate the charges against the petitioner as the alleged offences lacked any foundation.

The petitioner was working in the post of Delivery Center Manager at Mindtree Company Limited. The complainant joined the said Company to work under the petitioner on a contract that was to be in subsistence between 26-04-2017 and 11-08-2017. Just before the contract of the complainant could come to an end, a complaint was registered against the petitioner. It was alleged that the petitioner promised to convert the complainant’s contractual job into permanent one, but he went back on his word. It was further alleged that the petitioner made sexual advances towards the complainant and later refused to marry her.

The petitioner challenged the registration of crime in the High Court and while this petition was pending, the police filed a chargesheet against the petitioner under Section 354-A and 420 of IPC. The petitioner then went to concerned Court to seek discharge, but the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate rejected his application.

Perusing the facts and legal trajectory of the case, the Court expressed its shock the probability of open spaces being a place for commission of sexual offences.

The Court further noted that neither the complaint nor the chargesheet prepared by the Police, indicated any ingredient of offence of outraging a woman’s modesty.

Regarding charges under Section 420, IPC, the Court pointed out that the allegation of the complainant that the petitioner has cheated and breached the promise of marriage, is plainly contrary to law, as breach of promise of marriage cannot become an offence under Section 420 IPC.

With the aforesaid assessment, the Court held that the charges and proceedings against the petitioner lack any foundation therefore they ought to be quashed.

[Sameer Dinkar Bhole v. State of Karnataka, 2023 SCC OnLine Kar 10, decided on 02-03-2023]

*Order was written by Justice M. Nagaprasanna.

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Petitioner- Anand B. Muddappa, Advocate;

Respondent- K.P. Yashodha, High Court Government Pleader appearing for respondent No. 1.

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