24 Sep 2022 4:51 AM GMT
Almost three years after he was acquitted in a sexual harassment case, the Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition filed by Sarvjeet Singh demanding a criminal enquiry against Jasleen Kaur, the former St. Stephen's College Student, for allegedly giving false evidence against him during the trial.Singh, who was acquitted by a trial court in 2019, was accused of harassing and abusing Kaur at...
Almost three years after he was acquitted in a sexual harassment case, the Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition filed by Sarvjeet Singh demanding a criminal enquiry against Jasleen Kaur, the former St. Stephen's College Student, for allegedly giving false evidence against him during the trial.
Singh, who was acquitted by a trial court in 2019, was accused of harassing and abusing Kaur at a traffic signal in Delhi's Tilak Nagar.
Before the High Court, he had challenged the two orders passed by the trial court dismissing his application under Section 340 of Code of Criminal Procedure for criminal enquiry against Kaur for allegedly giving false information, false evidence and making false charges against him during the trial.
Upholding the orders passed by the trial and appellate courts, Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain said it has been rightly held that Singh's mere acquittal on benefit of doubt does not attract Section 195 IPC and other offences and the preliminary enquiry under section 340 Cr.P.C.
However, the court granted Singh the liberty to initiate appropriate legal proceedings for defamation, allegedly caused by Kaur, by lodging an FIR or by invoking any other legal remedy. "The application under section 340 Cr.P.C. is not maintainable under the given facts and circumstances of the case," it said.
Singh had also argued that he became a victim of media trial because of the "frivolous complaint" filed by Kaur and that she was legally bound by oath to state to true facts during her testimony but made a false statement to implicate him.
Justice Jain said Singh's anxiety can be "very well understood" as the complainant had published the incident in the media and that might have caused loss of reputation to him. It added:
"However, the mere loss of reputation is not sufficient to attract the provisions under section 340 Cr.P.C."
An FIR was registered against Singh in 2015 under Sections 354A (sexual harassment) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) under Indian Penal Code, 1860. The trial court, while acquitting him in 2019, said non-examination of eye-witnesses, who could have supported the case of the prosecution, cast a serious doubt on the prosecution's case.
While dismissing his application under Section 340 CrPC read with Section 195 CrPC, the trial Court observed that merely because Sarvjeet was acquitted after getting benefit of doubt, it does not mean that Kaur had made false statement to implicate him.
It was also observed that even if there was any improvement in Kaur's testimony, it does not give a right to Singh to seek criminal enquiry against her. The order was upheld by an appellate court.
Justice Singh in the verdict dated September 19 also said:
"The trial Court while acquitting the petitioner, has not given any finding that the respondent no. 2 has made false statement on oath during the trial before the Court. The anxiety of the petitioner can be very well understood as the respondent no. 2 has published the incident in the media which might have caused loss of reputation to the petitioner."
Title: SARVJEET SINGH v. STATE(NCT OF DELHI) & ANR.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 903
Click Here To Read Order