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‘Casual touch does not outrage modesty’: Bombay High Court

The bench noted that in conversation the applicant touched hands of a fellow teacher and it cannot be termed as deliberate act done for outraging modesty of the complainant,

india Updated: Jun 15, 2019 22:24 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Casual touch,outraging modesty of woman,Bombay High Court
Seen here is the Bombay High Court ( Photo by Bhushan Koyande/HT )

Casual touch by a colleague does not constitute offence of outraging modesty of a woman, the Bombay high court said on Saturday while striking down criminal prosecution of a school headmaster for touching the hands of one of his colleagues in class.

“The bare act of touching hands of fellow woman-teacher by the headmaster while assuring her that her pending bills will be cleared by him and pleading her not to complaint against him to school trustees would not itself be sufficient to constitute the offence of outraging the modesty of the complainant teacher,” said a bench of Justice TV Nalawade and Justice KK Sonawane, striking down criminal prosecution of the headmaster.

The accused was booked by Bembali police station in Osmanabad district under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code after a school teacher accused him of outraging her modesty.

The woman complained that on September 26, 2018, when she was teaching a class, the headmaster came to her and assured her of clearing all her pending medical and leave allowance bills.

She alleged that in front of the entire class, he touched her hands and pleaded her not to lodge complaints against him with the school trustees.

The bench noted that in conversation the applicant touched hands of a fellow teacher and it cannot be termed as deliberate act done for outraging modesty of the complainant, and therefore the act was not sufficient to attract Section 354.

First Published: Jun 15, 2019 22:17 IST