HomeRupan Deol Bajaj and Ors v. Kanwar Pal Singh Gill and Ors 1995 SCC (6) 1944

Facts

Rupan Deol Bajaj had gone for a dinner party that she was invited to with her husband. She was sitting with all the ladies in the party and talking with them when K.P.S Gill came and sat in a chair among the ladies. When a few women left the circle and went inside the house, K.P.S Gill called her and asked her to sit on the chair next to him. When she got up and came to sit, K.P.S Gill pulled the chair towards him. He repeated this again which made Rupan Deol Bajaj uncomfortable and thus, went back to her chair. Subsequently, K.P.S Gill got up and stood in front of her chair and was very close to her. He made a gesture to her asking her to get up and come with him. This offended Rupan Deol Bajaj who then reprimanded K.P.S Gill and got up to walk out from the place. He then slapped on her posterior when she turned.

Issue

Whether K.P.S Gill had the mens rea to outrage the modesty of Rupan Deol Bajaj?

Whether slapping a woman on the posterior can be considered to be harm too trivial to count as an offence?

Rule

Section 354 IPC, Section 95 IPC.

State of Punjab v. Major Singh: It was held that societal standards must be used to determine if modesty of a woman is outraged. It was also held that a woman possesses the attribute of modesty right from her birth by virtue of her sex.

Analysis

The Court, after relying on the State of Punjab v. Major Singh case, held that the ultimate test for determining if modesty of a woman is outraged is that it must have the capacity to shock the “decency of a woman”. Moreover, the Court observed that since there was nothing at all to show that the act was an accident or a mistake, K.P.S Gill would at least have the knowledge, if not intention, that slapping a woman on the posterior is indecent and has the capacity to offend modesty.

Coming to the argument about whether the harm was too trivial to count as an offence, the Court pointed out that the sense of mental trauma and violation that the woman had to endure cannot and should not be considered to be of a too trivial nature.

Conclusion

Since modesty of the woman was shown to be outraged under section 354 IPC, and harm caused was serious enough to be considered as an offence, the appeal was allowed.

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