No means no, says judge and convicts lawyer for harassing female colleague
THANE: “No means no.” The Thane magistrate court recently said these words while convicting a 45-year-old practising lawyer and sentencing him to three years’ rigorous imprisonment for “outraging the modesty” of a colleague who repeatedly rejected his marriage proposal.
Magistrate R T Ingale on Monday held advocate Rajendra Galange guilty of pestering the female lawyer with a marriage proposal despite her clear rejection of it.

“When a woman says no, it is really a no. But some men take it as a yes and repeat themselves,” said magistrate Ingale while sentencing Galange for causing mental and physical trauma to the female advocate.

Additional public prosecutor Rashmi Kshirsagar told the court that the female lawyer, who is divorced, practises in Thane court. “She had uploaded her profile on a matrimonial website for remarriage. The accused initially sent his proposal online but she turned it down.”

 Galange is said to have then waylaid her at the Kalyan court complex and once again proposed marriage, which she politely refused. He continued to call her on her phone several times, forcing her to block his number. “On September 16, 2013, the complainant was at her office in Naupada, when Galange walked in around 9.15pm and once again proposed marriage. He then went on to hurl abuses at her and threaten her. Those present in the office intervened and the accused was taken to the police station where an offence was registered,” said Kshirsagar.

The defence lawyer argued that the office of an advocate is accessible to everyone. The magistrate, though, said it is not a public place, it is a private office and permission is required to enter it. “If the analogy of the defence is accepted, then the office of an advocate may be open for public and this would not be accepted.”

When the complainant repeatedly rejected the accused’s proposal, it implied her refusal to him to enter her office, said the magistrate. It therefore amounts to trespassing. In his order, the magistrate further said, “It is brought to my notice that even after her insistence, the accused approached the complainant and threatened that she withdraw the case.”

The accused was convicted under Indian Penal Code sections 452 (house trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and 504 (intentional insult with an intent to provoke breach of peace.