Grabbing woman’s hand, threatening her without lustful intention does not outrage her modesty: Kerala Court

Although the accused was not convicted for outraging the woman’s modesty under Section 354 of the IPC, the court found him guilty of criminal intimidation and sentenced him to two months in jail.

A Kerala court recently held that merely catching hold of a woman’s hands and threatening her without any lustful intention will not attract the offence of outraging the modesty of a woman under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Mere assault or criminal force would not attract the offence under Section 354 IPC, observed Judicial First Class Magistrate-II judge at Aluva, Santosh TK.

The court emphasised that there must be a culpable intention on the part of the accused to outrage the victim woman’s modesty in order to convict him under Section 354 IPC.

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 case before the court concerned an incident that took place in 2013. As per the prosecution, a woman had gone to pray at a temple when the accused caught hold of her hand and threatened to kill her.

A criminal case filed against the accused alleged that he had committed the offences under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 506(1) (criminal Intimidation) of the IPC.

On going through the statements and evidence, however, the judge found that the accused man had no intention to outrage the modesty of the woman, even though he held her hand and threatened her.

“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, the judge remarked.

As such, the court quashed the charge under Section 354 of the IPC against the accused.

However, the court found that the accused was liable to be convicted for criminal intimidation under Section 506 (1) of the IPC for threatening to kill the woman with an intent to cause her alarm.

Therefore, the court sentenced the accused to simple imprisonment for a period of two months and imposed a fine of ₹5,000 on him.

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