Obscene gesture or remark amount to insulting woman's modesty: Kerala HC

Kerala HC

Kochi: The Kerala High Court has said that any obscene gesture or remark made against a woman amount to the crime of insulting the woman’s modesty.

Justice R Narayana Pisharadi made the ruling while dismissing a petition filed by Thiruvananthapuram native J K Abhijith, seeking to quash a case filed against him by the Pettah police.

A 39-year-old woman had complained that the youth followed her on a bike and asked if she wanted to go with him, while she was walking on a public road around 9.30pm on July 12, 2018. He also allegedly made sexual gestures at her.

The court said that any gesture or remarks made with the intention to insult womanhood is punishable as per the IPC section 509.

The court also cited earlier judgments that said a woman's modesty has to be respected at all times irrespective of her age or the situation.

The court pointed out that the accused was not known to the woman and that he did not offer a 'lift' over any former acquaintance. It was clear that the youth had invited her with the misconceived notion that a woman walking alone in the night was ready to go with anyone. Prima face, it is clear that his intention was to insult the woman's modesty.

The court refused to quash the FIR filed in the case and the final report.

The defendant argued that there was no evidence to prove that the intention was to insult modesty.

However, the court pointed out that as the intention was a mental state, it was not possible to prove it.

At the same time, the judgment said that the trial into the case has to be completed without being influenced by the court's remarks.

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