Stating that modesty, honour, dignity and the reputation of a woman has to be protected at all places including her home and office, the Bombay high court has upheld the conviction of an employee of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) for molesting a colleague at work.
Last week, justice SC Dharmadhikari dismissed an appeal filed by Nandkumar Sonawane, a depot manager with the MSRTC at the time of the incident, against the six months' sentence awarded by a lower court in September 2011.
According to the prosecution, on August 17, 2002, he molested the victim in the watchman's cabin of the MSRTC depot at Nalasopara, Thane district. The victim worked in the same depot as the clerk.
“(The) cases of outraging the modesty of woman at workplaces are increasing. The honour, dignity and reputation of a woman so also her modesty has to be safeguarded and protected at all places, home and office included. Else, no work place will be safe for her,” justice Dharmadhikari observed in his ruling.
He further said that such incidents will discourage women from taking up job, and it was the duty of all to ensure that women feel safe and secure.
Advocate KP Anilkumar, the accused’s lawyer, argued that Sonawane had been implicated by the victim, because he had transferred her. Anilkumar also questioned the delay in filing the FIR: the alleged incident had taken place in the morning while the complaint was lodged at night.
The high court, however, did not accept this argument and said that the victim must have consulted her family and colleagues before approaching the police. “The victim stood by her statement before the police and the trial court. The victim’s version is reliable, truthful and capable of being relied upon,” the court said.