The High Court of Bombay at Goa has refused Anticipatory Bail to a senior Journalist, based in the state, against whom complaints of Sexual harassment was made by three lady journalists who worked under him, holding that persistent act like the one complained of amounts to ‘assault’. Justice K. L. Wadane said “Looking to the dictionary meaning it reveals that such assault does not necessarily be actual physical assault. Harm on the mind, also amounts to an assault.”
The complainants had accused the Journalists of persistent sexual harassment through SMS and Social network. He was also accused of touching their body without consent and making sexually coloured remarks. The prosecution also said that a fourth complaint is also there against him.
According to prosecution the journalist not only committed single offence but committed series of offences that too assault on a women's with intent to outrage their modesty, by taking undue advantage of his position. He further submitted that that the custody of the applicant/accused is required for the purpose of recovery of the mobile/electronic device though which vulgar messages were passed/transmitted on the mobile phone of the victim's. In his defence, it was submitted that there was delay in filing the complaints. It was also argued that, on the face of the FIRs/complaints no offences can be said to be have been committed by the applicant as there is no material on record to constitute the offences levelled against the applicant. The counsel for the applicant also submitted that he is ready to produce the mobile, which the investigating officer wants to seize.
The Court observed that contents of the FIRs clearly stated what applicant/accused had done with them and he was in spree of sexually harassing women who worked under him. The court said “It cannot be expected from the female/women to lodge the complaint immediately because very reputation or honour of the women was at stake. It is common knowledge that whenever such incident has taken place with the girls/women before filing the complaint or matter being public, they think 100 times and then they decide, whether complaint is to be lodged or not.”
Rejecting the contention of the defense that these complaints are an outcome of rivalry/groupism in the corporate body, the court said that it is improbable that these women, working under the control of the accused, to file false complaint on the stake of reputation and honour. The production of mobile handset will not suffice for the purpose of investigation because investigating officer has to attach sim card which was used in the mobile and such thing is not possible without custodial interrogation of the applicant, the Court said.
Image from here.
Read the order here.