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‘Sexually-Coloured Remarks’ Come Within The Ambit Of ‘Sexual Harassment’: Calcutta HC #Vaw

 

sexual harassment

The Calcutta High Court in Jishu Sengupta & Others Vs State of West Bengal & Anr, has held that “sexually coloured remarks” will come within the ambit of “sexual harassment” enumerated in section 354A of the Indian Penal Code.

Justice Ranjit Kumar Bag was considering revision petitions filed by Rudranil Ghosh, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Srijit Mukherjee and Jishu Sengupta against the order of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Alipore, issuing summons to them.

The allegation in the complaint is that on December 21, 2015, at 9 pm, during a television talk show titled Shonge Srijit, petitioner Srijit talked to petitioners Parambrata and Rudranil by casting aspersion on the character and reputation of the complainant and subjecting her to “sexual harassment”.

By referring to one mannequin as the complainant, Srijit ascertained from Parambrata and Rudranil that they were in love with her, for which she would be immortalised in history. Both Rudranil and Parambrata used metaphors and euphemisms like how they ‘enjoyed playing cricket in the play ground of Eden though the play ground Eden did not allow them to play cricket at a time, while one played in the morning, another played in the evening’.

 

Again, Parambrata laughingly said he was not serious in love, though he ‘entered the bus knowing that the bus is crowded with passengers and having no place to sit on’ and ultimately he came to learn from Rudranil that he was serious in love, while his own was temporary.

According to the complainant, the conversation of petitioner Srijit with petitioners Parambrata and Rudranil was sexual innuendo which comes within the ambit of “sexually coloured remarks” and thereby, the complainant was subjected to sexual harassment.

A further case made out by the complainant in another petition is that all the petitioners and other accused had intentionally made derogatory remarks against the complainant, by which the prestige and reputation of the complainant is lowered down in the eye of her friends and common people, as the complainant belongs to the same profession to which the petitioners also belong.

It is alleged that the complainant was ridiculed by her friends and members of the family and the conversation of the petitioners in the talk show amounts to defamation with common intention, which is punishable under the law.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate examined the complainant and her witnesses and considered the petition of complaint and the compact disc (DVD) annexed to the petition of complaint and formed the opinion that prima facie case is made out for issuance of summons against the petitioners and some other accused for the offence punishable under Sections 354A (1) (iv)/34 of the Indian Penal Code and also for the offence punishable under Sections 500/34 of the Indian Penal Code by passing two separate orders.

After hearing the parties, Justice Justice Ranjit Kumar Bag observed that “sexually coloured remarks” will come within the ambit of “sexual harassment” enumerated in section 354A of the Indian Penal Code. Dismissing the petitions, the court held as follows: “When petitioner Parambrata has clarified during conversation in the television programme that they have been speaking in metaphor about their love to the complainant, any reasonable and prudent person will understand what the petitioner Parambrata and the petitioner Rudranil wanted to mean by playing cricket in the lovely field of Eden Garden, while one played in the morning and the other played in the evening, as the Eden Garden did not allow them to play at a time.

This is clearly an innuendo referring to the sexual relationship with the complainant which has the sexual flavour to bring the same within the ambit of “sexually coloured remarks”.

The petitioner, Parambrata, had to give up the relationship as he was not serious about the relationship, but he took a chance to enter into the crowded bus being allured by the bus even when there was no place to sit inside the said bus.

This conversation may give entertainment to the viewers at the cost of humiliation of the complainant who, as already pointed out by me, not only belongs to the same profession of the petitioners, but also the friend of both petitioners Parambrata and Rudranil for more than a decade. Without considering the compact disc (DVD) for non-compliance of the provision of Section 65B(4) of the Indian Evidence Act, Learned Magistrate would have been justified in taking cognizance and issuing process against the petitioners and other accused persons for the offence punishable under Sections 354A/34 of the Indian Penal Code.”

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Comment (1)

  1. K SHESHU BABU

    Conversation referring to obscene and alluding sexual relations should be treated as ‘ sexual harassment’ . The persons responsible for committing such offences for entertainment should be punished for insulting oppressed people.

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