22 Nov 2023 1:59 PM GMT
The Gujarat High Court has granted bail to a female Resident Additional Collector who was implicated in a case involving the installation of spy cameras in the office chamber of the District Collector, Anand. The court ruled that Section 354C of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which pertains to voyeurism, is not applicable to women.According to the established facts of the case, the...
The Gujarat High Court has granted bail to a female Resident Additional Collector who was implicated in a case involving the installation of spy cameras in the office chamber of the District Collector, Anand. The court ruled that Section 354C of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which pertains to voyeurism, is not applicable to women.
According to the established facts of the case, the current petitioner, who was employed as the Resident Additional Collector at the Collector's office in District Anand, orchestrated the installation of spy cameras in the office chamber of the former District Collector. Subsequently, a woman was directed to frequent the District Collector's office with the purpose of cultivating a close relationship with the then District Collector, with the promise of financial compensation.
Following these instructions, the woman visited the District Collector's chamber on multiple occasions, leading to their engagement in a compromising situation. The entire scenario was captured on the spy cameras, which were strategically placed in the chamber by the current petitioner. Armed with the footage, the petitioner confronted the District Collector, coercing him to expedite the clearance of certain contentious files related to NA Permission. The implicit threat was that failure to comply would result in the District Collector facing charges under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code.
Justice MR Mengdey observed,
“The offence punishable under Section 354(c) is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to 3 Years. So far as the present Applicant is concerned, she cannot be said to have committed an offence punishable under Section 354 of IPC as she is a lady.”
The bench was seized with an Application filed under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for enlarging the applicant on Regular Bail in connection with FIR.
The Court emphasized that as a public servant, the Applicant had a solemn obligation to safeguard and advance public interest. However, the Court noted with disapproval that instead of fulfilling this duty, the Applicant had engaged in actions that tarnished the reputation of a public authority.
Furthermore, the Court pointed out that if the Applicant found fault with the conduct of the then District Collector, there were established channels within public offices to address such grievances. The Court expressed the view that if the Applicant genuinely had concerns, she could have utilized the available mechanisms for redressal.
The Court also remarked on the shared responsibility of the then District Collector, Anand, in the matter. It expressed astonishment at the revelation that, despite evidence indicating the misuse of official premises by the District Collector for the sexual exploitation of a woman, no charges had been filed against him.
Having heard the Advocates for the parties and perusing the record produced in this case as well as taking into consideration the facts of the case, nature of allegations, gravity of accusation, availability of the Applicant at the time of Trial etc. and the role attributed to her, the Court opined that the present Application deserved to be allowed on executing a personal bond of Rs.10,000/-.
Appearance: Mr. Mihir Thakore, Senior Advocate With Mr. Meetkumar J Pandit(9479) For The Applicant(S) No. 1 Mr. L.B.Dabhi, App For The Respondent(S) No. 1
LL Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Guj) 184
Case Title: Ketkiben Vasudev Vyas Versus State Of Gujarat
Case No.: R/Criminal Misc.Application (For Regular Bail - Before Chargesheet) No. 17223 Of 2023
Click Here To Read The Order / Judgement