Casual touch does not constitute outraging modesty: Bombay high court
In her complaint, a school teacher alleged that the principal he touched her hands and pleaded her not to lodge complaints against him with the school trustees.Updated: Jun 16, 2019 01:06 IST
A casual touch by a colleague does not constitute the offence of outraging the modesty of a woman, the Bombay high court (HC) said, while striking down the criminal prosecution against a 45-year-old principal of an ashram school. The principal was booked last year for touching the hands of a teacher in a class in the presence of her students.
The principal was booked under section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) after the teacher approached the Bembali police in Osmanabad on September 26, 2018.
In her complaint, the teacher alleged that while she was teaching in class, the principal assured her that he would clear all her pending medical and leave allowance bills. She alleged he touched her hands and pleaded her not to lodge complaints against him with the school trustees.
The principal had earlier lodged complaints about the teacher’s conduct with the higher authorities and an internal inquiry had been ordered against her, the court observed. The teacher had threatened to file a counter-complaint against him with the school’s trustees.
The bench of justice TV Nalawade and justice KK Sonawane noted that during the course of the conversation, touching the hands of a fellow teacher cannot be termed as deliberate act committed to outrage the modesty of the complainant, and therefore was insufficient to attract section 354.