A Delhi Court pronounced that using sexist language against women can be considered as sexual harassment under the Indian Penal Code against men.
The court was hearing a plea filed by an accused man and rejected the same against a magisterial court order that instructed framing charges of sexual harassment and insulting a woman’s modesty.
A woman had filed a police complaint against her manager who allegedly used a Hindi word, commonly used as a sexist slur, against her in January 2016. The magistrate court found merit in the case in February this year and ordered trial. Challenging the court’s order, the man approached the sessions court, however, the court termed the woman’s allegations against the man as “specific”. Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana said,
At the stage of framing of charge, the court cannot brush aside the statement of the complainant wherein she has levelled specific allegations against the accused.
Stating further, the judge said that the woman’s complaint could not be discarded at the “very outset without testing it upon the anvil of trial,” only because she did not specify an exact date and time of the incident.
The woman in her complaint had mentioned that the incident had taken place the “previous” month. However, she did not give any specific date or time. She had accused her manager of using a sexist slang at her while he was sitting across the desk.
According to the woman, when she took the matter to the reporting manager, he asked her to ignore the incident if she wanted to continue working at that organisation.
Arguing that the woman had not filed a complaint with the company, but directly filed a false case against his client, the man’s counsel urged the sessions court to quash the magistrate court’s order.
The counsel also stated that the woman did not record her statement before the court under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The defense also informed that complainant was asked to resign due to her professional incompetence, and hence, she filed a false complaint against the sales manager of the company, the accused in the case.
Referring to the judgement made by the Supreme Court in Sheoraj Singh Ahlawat v. the State of UP, the court observed that the basis for being presumptuous that the accused had committed the offence had to be considered, not ground for convicting him. Judge Rana quoted,
It is settled in law that at the stage of charge, the court is not required to meticulously weigh the evidence. Discrepancies, if any, in the statement of the complainant are a matter of trial. The complainant is also duly signed by the complainant.
The judge added that the man cannot be discharged only on the basis that the woman had not recorded her statement in the court. The court was of the viewpoint that reasons were required to be recorded by the trial court only if it had concluded that the accused deserved to be discharged. The court concluded,
However, when the court decided there is prima facie a case, reasons are not required to be given.