Recently, a Court in Kerala noted that the act of holding a woman’s hands and threatening her without any lustful intention does not constitute the offence of outraging the modesty of a woman under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Judicial First Class Magistrate-II judge at Aluva, Santosh TK held that mere assault or criminal force would not attract the offence of outraging the modesty of a woman under IPC Section 354.
The Court stated that there must be culpable intention on the part of the accused to outrage the modesty of a woman and convict him under Section 354.
“Mere assault or criminal force does not amount to an offence. The culpable intention to outrage the modesty of the victim is to be proved. Mere holding PW1’s hand and threatened her that he would kill her will not attract offence under Section 354 of IPC,” The judgment stated.
The incident took place in 2013 wherein the woman had gone to a temple to pray. The accused grabbed her hand and threatened to kill her.
She filed a criminal complaint against him accusing him of committing offences under Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and Section 506(1) (criminal Intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
While holding that the man had no intention of outraging her modesty, the Court stated, “There is absolutely nothing on record to show that the accused uttered any indecent words or had any intention to use the victim to satisfy his lust.”
Thus, the Court quashed the charges under Section 354 against the accused. However, the Court noted that the accused is liable to be convicted under Section 506(1) for threatening to kill her with an intent to cause harm.
Therefore, the Court sentenced him to simple imprisonment for a period of two months and imposed a fine of ₹5,000 on him.