After the country was pained by the rape committed in Delhi in the year 2012 which lead to Capital Punishment and hanging of the rapist on 1st February’20, different mercy petitions from accused were declined by the President of India, Judges of Supreme Court and Delhi High Court. Despite that incidents haven’t been stopped against women or minor girls. The Madras High Court maintained that the bail given to the accused by the lower court is unsustainable.
This situation arose with taking a photograph of a fourteen-year-old girl, who was assaulted by a person named Siva in Sivaganga District of Tamil Nadu. Whereas, there were other three people who blackmailed her by using her photograph and the victim’s mother got to know about the whole incident when her daughter’s picture got circulated in social media. They took the assistance of ChildLine and filed an FIR against those accused but Mahila Fast Track Court granted bail to three people as the investigation hasn’t reached to a conclusion and it shall be wrong to prejudice the investigation. Thereby, the police department from Sivaganga submitted a plea in the bench of Madurai of Madras High Court to reject the bail and it was pointed by the Government Advocate A. Robinson that there is an absence of justification to judge those accused on different parameters.
Assault has been defined in Section 351 of Indian Penal Code, 1860
- Any gesture.
- Any preparation which will intend
- Knowingly that such gesture will have apprehension in the minds of the person.
- Mere words will not amount to an assault.
On the other hand, Section 352 mentions about the punishment that can be given to the accused which shall be up to three months of imprisonment and 500 rupees penalty or both.
Section 354 provides that if the assault intends to impact upon her modesty with a provocation, it will be punished for an year of imprisonment and that may extend to five years on the basis of conscience of the bench. Sexual Assault was recommended by the Committee of Justice Verma were prorogating the modesty of woman hasn’t been defined but if there isn’t evidence of penetration, then that offence shall not be categorized under the section of 354 of IPC. The offence which was recommended was in relation with non-penetration and non-consensual touching of sexual nature and the act shall be based on the circumstances. The offence shall be penalized by the law for 5 years, or fine or both.
Furthermore, the section 509 of IPC mentions about the verbal sexual assault which is in relation with an action that intends to insult the modesty of woman by uttering of words, making of any sound or gesture, or exhibiting of any object towards her or any gesture with an intention to infringe the privacy of a woman shall be punished.
Imprisonment will be for a period of 3 years, and also fine.
Observation of the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court:-
The order states that the court didn’t take into consideration the fact that the victim is a minor. Those accused have preyed on her innocence by sexually assaulting and blackmailing her and this crime which has been committed by the accused, is against the morality of society. Whereas, the bench cited the distinction which has been provided by the Supreme Court upon which the bail can be cancelled by the lower court and also stated that the reasons given by the lower court is unsustainable in law. In the end, the bench asked the police to take accused in the custody to get the investigation done.
Edited by J. Madonna Jephi
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
- Times of India, Madras high court cancels bail to three accused in sexual assault of minor girl https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/madurai/hc-cancels-bail-to-three-accused-in-sexual-assault-of-minor-girl/articleshow/73311096.cms
- PRS India, Justice Verma Committee http://prsindia.org/report-summaries/justice-verma-committee-report-summary
- Indian Penal Code of 1860 https://www.iitk.ac.in/wc/data/IPC_186045.pdf