Case: Rupan Deol Bajaj & Anr V. Kanwar Pal Singh Gill & Anr.
The Supreme Court of India
Dr. A.S Anand and M.K. Mukherjee
October 12, 1995
(1995) 6 SCC 194, 1995 SCC (Cri) 1059
Whether the allegations constitute any of the offences mentioned?
Arguments in favour of the Petitioner:
In the present case, the first and foremost question which rose in front of the court was whether the allegations constitute any or all of the offences for which the case has been registered. The court firstly looked into the matter of Section 354 and Section 509 of IPC both of which relate to the modest of women. The Court has referred various dictionaries for the purpose of figuring out the meaning of modesty since it is not defined in the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Further, the Court has referred the judgment given in State of Punjab v. Major Singh, where Court observed that any act was done to or in the presence of any women and is clearly suggestive of sex according to the common notions of mankind that must fall within the ambit of Section 354 of IPC. The learned Judge in the present case cited the above view and stated that the essence of a women’s modesty is her sex and from her very birth she possesses the modesty which is the attribute of her sex.
The Honorable Court applied the above test in the present case keeping in mind the facts and held that alleged act of Mr. Gill in slapping Mrs. Bajaj in her posterior amounted to “Outraging the Modesty of Women” for it was not only an affront to normal sense of feminine decency but also an affront to the dignity of the lady “sexual overtones” or not, notwithstanding.
Coming to the High Court’s decision, the Apex Court held that High Court’s decision wasn’t justified on quashing the complaint and the FIR and embarking upon the inquiry as to the probability and genuineness of the allegations made thereof. Quashing of an FIR and complaint is only justified when there is no sufficient ground or the allegations made therein are absurd and inherently improbable that no prudent person can reach a just conclusion. But in the present case, the High Court has committed a gross error of law in quashing the FIR and the complaint. Accordingly, the Court set aside the impugned judgment of the High Court and dismissed the petition filed by Mr. Gill in the High Court under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Arguments in favour of Defendant:
The Counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent contended that, even if it is assumed that Mr. Gill outraged the modesty of Mrs. Bajaj, still it cannot be said that he has attracted the Section 354 of IPC because the other ingredient of the offence under the said Section is intention, which is clearly lacking in the present scenario. He urged that the culpable intention of the offender in committing the act is the crux of the matter and not the consequence thereof.
The Court then considered the applicability of the Sections 341, 342 and 352 of IPC. It was held that nothing in the FIR and the facts of the case prove that there was wrongful confinement or restrain from MR. Gill towards Mrs. Bajaj. Merely standing in front of Mrs. Bajaj doesn’t indicate that there was any wrongful restraint or confinement.
The court next considered the applicability of Section 95 of IPC which talks about the act of causing slight harm. For this Court considered the principle lay down in the case of Veeda Menezes v. Yusuf Khan and held that there was no scope of application of the said provision with the present facts of the case.
The Apex Court directed the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Chandigarh to take cognizance upon the police report in respect of the offences under Sections 354 and 509 and try the case himself in accordance with the law. They made it abundantly clear that the Magistrate should try the case without any outside influence and the Magistrate will have to dispose of the case solely on the basis of the evidence to be adduced during the trial.
Case Law Referred:
- State of Punjab v. Major Singh
- Veeda Menezes v. Yusuf Khan
This case, famously known as “the butt slapping case” was one of the most criticized high profile cases. The cause of action arose when Mrs. Bajaj was slapped in her posterior by Mr. Gill at a party; following this an FIR was lodged. At the preliminary stage, no action was taken by the police as a result of whom the case went to the chief judicial magistrate who asked for a report on the investigation which was being carried out. Simultaneously a petition was filed in the High Court by the respondent for quashing of the FIR and the Court ruled in favour. At this stage the case attracted criticisms, the case concerned outraging the modesty of a women. The essence of a women’s modesty is her sex and from her very birth, she possesses the modesty which is the attribute of her sex. Therefore any act is done which consists of attributes of sex, then that will attract the mischief in Section 354 of IPC. Therefore the case had been rightly decided by the Court in the above matter.