Assam, India: The Gauhati High Court has refused to quash the FIR against Indian Youth Congress (IYC) President Srinivas BV in a case concerning a harassment complaint filed by former Assam Youth Congress (AYC) President Angkita Dutta, citing “to prevent abuse of the process of law and to secure the ends of justice.”
The Court observed that the victim Angkita Dutta and the accused Srinivas BV belonged the same national political party and that the allegations concern harassment using sexist comments and threatening the victim “not to report his misdemeanour of ill treatment, misbehaviour and sexist remarks passed against her to the high office bearers of their party.”
The Court noted that the FIR discloses that the accused allegedly “heckled the victim holding her arm, pushing and pulling and threatened her using slang words saying that he would ruin her career in the party if she went to complaint against him before the high office bearers of the party.” Furthermore, the Court observed that the accused’s comments, as alleged in the FIR, “constitute the offences which apparently satisfy the ingredients of the penal provisions of Sections 352/354/ 354A (iv) of the IPC.”
The Court also noted that Angkita Dutta was “threatened not to go outside the border of Assam to attend any meeting of the party, which prima facie satisfy the ingredients of the offence of criminal restraint punishable under Section 341 of the IPC.”
The Court noted, “The victim informant has alleged in the FIR that all those remarks and threatening aimed at her using slang words, using criminal force by heckling her, holding her by her arm including the aforesaid words uttered by the petitioner are out and out derogatory, sexist, chauvinistic, demeaning, outrageous to her modesty as a woman.”
The accused’s counsel contented that it is apparent that the “allegations made therein are not only vague, fabricated and an afterthought, but are result of political vendetta.” Furthermore, the accused’s counsel also argued that “the allegations have been made to settle personal scores and ego satisfaction of the informant/alleged victim woman.” The accused’s counsel also submitted, “that the FIR in question being apparently politically driven, the criminal justice system cannot be used to settle political and personal rivalry.”
However, the Court disagreed with the contentions and noted, “There is also no indication on the case diary that the FIR is politically motivated and based on some false and concocted story. The nature of offences disclosed in the FIR are crime against the society being basically pertaining to outraging of the modesty of woman.”
Furthermore, the Court disagreed with the accused’s counsel’s arguments claiming there is an inordinate delay in filing an FIR. The accused’s counsel argued that the FIR was lodged after much delay which has not been explained by the victim woman.
The Court observed that the FIR discloses that Angkita Dutta complained against accused Srinivas BV’s unbecoming behaviour towards her to the high office bearers of Congress, however, despite waiting it yielded no response. Furthermore, the Court observed that she has to face a legal notice raising counter-allegations of defamation for “abusing and tarnishing the image of the petitioner publicly on some wrong facts and with malicious intent.”
Srinivas BV’s Counsel Comments on Retiring Judges
The accused’s counsel made a comment against retiring judges, alleging that “the Judges, who are on the verge of retirement, it is noticed, always pass orders in favour of the Government.” The accused’s counsel added, “In this regard, referring to a statement of the then Union Minister of Law and Justice for the Government of India, Late Arun Jaitley, made in the parliament, Mr. Choudhury contended that that is why a cooling off period after retirement of a Judge has been advocated.”
The Court said, “in exercise of judicial restraint and keeping in mind the glorious past of 75 years of existence of this esteemed High Court and further, being not relevant in the context of the instant petition, is not inclined to take into consideration of those avoidable submissions while deciding the instant petition.”
“It may pertinently be pointed out that a Judge performs his duties with absolute fairness based on record and relevant laws only applicable to the facts and circumstances in each case, without fear or favour or affection or ill-will. Therefore, this Court hopes and trusts that good conscience shall prevail upon Mr. Choudhury, who is widely assumed to be a legal acumen,” the Court added.
“This Court is, however, unfortunately compelled to record its displeasure and reserves the right for reference in future in the event of recurrence of such avoidable embarrassing situation in the Court,” said the Court.