Expressing anguish at invoking provisions of sexual harassment at the “drop of a hat”, the Delhi High Court observed that such incidents trivialise the offence. The HC observed that a sexual harassment case registered only to express one’s displeasure at the conduct of another individual sets back the cause of women empowerment.
Setting aside an FIR registered by Delhi Police under Sections 354A and 506 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against an assistant professor of the Delhi University, Justice Subramonium Prasad said that such incidents merely trivialise the offence of sexual harassment and casts a doubt on the veracity of the allegations filed by every real victim. The court also said that the status report filed by the police in the case does not reveal anything about the offences which were referred to in the FIR.
The FIR against the assistant professor was registered based on a complaint made by his neighbour last year. The neighbour had alleged sexual harassment and criminal intimidation. However, the accused refuted the allegations and told the HC that the case was registered in to coerce and arm-twist him into withdrawing a complaint filed by his wife against the neighbour’s son.
The case also revealed that the accused and the complainant have several long-pending disputes, mainly related to the residential property. The Delhi Police had opposed the accused’s petition seeking quashing of the FIR. The police submitted before the court that the accused and his wife are habitual complainants and have filed many complaints opposing the construction that has taken place in their neighbourhood. The police also claimed that the accused was angry with the residents after he was dismissed from an RWA post for abusing his position.