Time has come to initiate action against persons who file frivolous complaints under Sections 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354A (Sexual harassment) Indian Penal Code etc. only for ulterior purpose, the Delhi High Court recently said as it imposed costs of Rs. 30,000 on parties seeking to quash FIRs registered for the said offences after arriving at a settlement (Liashram vs State).
A single-judge Bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad stated that false allegations have the effect of tarnishing the image of the person and action should be initiated against such complainants.
“Offences under Sections 354, 354A, 354B, 354C, 354D IPC are serious offences. Such allegations have the effect of tarnishing the image of the person against whom such allegations are made. Allegations regarding these offences cannot be made at a drop of a hat. This practice is an abuse of the process of law..Time has come to initiate action against persons who file frivolous complaints under Sections 354, 354A, 354B, 354C, 354D IPC etc. only for ulterior purpose,” the order said.
The Court further observed that it was “becoming a trend” to register FIRs under Sections 354, 354A, 354B (Assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 354C (Voyeurism), 354D (stalking) IPC to arm-twist a party, which results in the Police spending time on investigating “frivolous cases”.
The Court took judicial notice of the fact that the police force was very limited as a result of which investigation in serious offences gets compromised.
In the instant case, a prayer was made for quashing of two cross FIRs for offences under Sections 509, 506, 323, 341, 354, 354A and 34 IPC.
Ultimately, with the intervention of some common friends, relatives and family members, the parties settled their dispute.
Calling it a “classic example” as to how frivolous allegations of Section 354 and 354A are levelled by the parties against each other, the Court observed,
“A small fight regarding parking has been escalated by levelling allegation of outraging modesty of women.”
In view of the mutual settlement arrived at between the parties, the Court opined that no useful purpose would be served in proceedings with the criminal proceedings.
The Court nonetheless imposed cost of Rs. 30,000 on both the petitioners with a warning not to file false and frivolous cases in future.