The Madras High Court recently observed in a case that the prosecution was right in registering the case under Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 2002 against the Accused, as defacto Complainant/Victim (Transgender) named Neka views herself as a woman.
The Bench of Justice G. R. Swaminathan was hearing the plea (filed under S. 482 CrPC) of the Petitioner-Accused booked under Sections 294(b) and 506(i) of I.P.C. and Section 4 of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 2002.
The Petitioner-Accused is the owner of a lodge and the second respondent (Neka) stayed in one of the rooms of the lodge owned by the Petitioner-Accused.
The case of the defacto complainant (Neka) is that on the occurrence date, the Petitioner-Accused had barged into her room and when the same was questioned, he had abused her in filthy language.
The petitioner's counsel contended before the Court that the complainant is a transgender person and that therefore it was not open to the prosecution to invoke the provisions of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 2002.
The Court observed that the Supreme Court, in the case of National Legal Services Authority Vs. Union of India (2014) 5 SCC 483, had held that it is entirely for the transgender person to self-identify her gender and that this self-determination cannot be questioned by others.
Further, the Court observed,
"In the case of hand, the defacto complainant/Neka views herself as a woman. Therefore, the prosecution rightly accepted the said self identification and registered the case under Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 2002. Therefore, I find no merit in the contention of the petitioner's counsel that invocation of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 2002, is not maintainable."
Thus, the criminal original petition was dismissed by the Court.
Case title- M. Srinivasan v. State & Neka [Crl.O.P(MD) No.11848 of 2020 and Crl.M.P.(MD) Nos. 5454 and 5457 of 2020]