New Delhi: The Delhi High Court refused to quash an FIR against a man accused of stalking, sexual harassment and circulating morphed pictures of a girl in spite of a settlement between the parties, observing that the offences are not personal in nature but affected the society and are a serious assault on the girl’s fundamental right to live with dignity.
Justice Mukta Gupta noted that the circulation of the girl’s morphed photographs on an online platform resulted in several people asking for ‘illegal favours’ from her on payment of money and that the FIR cannot be quashed merely on the ground that the petitioner is now showing repentance. The judge said that considering the nature of the allegations, it was not a fit case for quashing the FIR on the basis of a compromise.
‘Considering the fact that the petitioner not only used to stop, harass, stalk and threaten the complainant but also circulated her morphed photographs on V-Chat, resulting in number of people visiting her place asking about illegal favours from her on payment of money, the alleged offences committed by the petitioner against the complainant cannot be said to be a personal dispute not affecting the society at all’, the court said in its recent order. ‘The nature of offence committed by the petitioner against the complainant cannot be quashed merely on the ground that the petitioner now shows repentance as the offence committed is a serious assault on the fundamental right to live with dignity of the complainant’, it added.
The FIR in the present case was filed for the alleged commission of offences under sections 354A (sexual harassment)/354D (stalking) /341 (wrongful restraint)/506 (criminal intimidation)/507 (criminal intimidation by anonymous communication)/509 (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code. The complainant alleged in the FIR that the petitioner was a fellow student in her coaching centre who followed her and offered her friendship which she refused. The petitioner then started pressuring her to become friends with him which subsequently lead to her leaving the coaching centre.
It was claimed that even when the complainant began working as a mehendi artist, the petitioner used to stop her on the way to work and thus her mother spoke to the petitioner’s parents who assured that no such incident would take place in future. The FIR further alleged that after 15 days of the complainant’s marriage, the petitioner called from an unknown number and told her husband that the complainant was not a good girl and he should leave her. Subsequently, the petitioner started calling the complainant to ask her meet him and threatened that if she failed to do so, he would throw acid on her, it was added.
A month before the FIR was filed, the complainant alleged that she faced further harassment after several persons started visiting her house with certain ‘dirty’ pictures of hers on an online platform. Calls were also received on the mobile phone number of the sister-in-law of the complainant asking about the charges for ‘one night of the complainant’, it stated.