Bombay High court: Holding hand of girl without any sexual intent is not sexual harassment

The Bombay High Court has granted bail to the accused, who had held the hand of a minor girl and expressed his "liking" for her.

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The Bombay High Court has granted anticipatory bail to a rickshaw driver on the grounds that expressing liking for a minor girl by holding her hand did not amount to outraging the modesty of the girl.

The single-judge bench, led by Justice Bharati Dangre, noted that accused Dhanraj Babusingh Rathod did not have any sexual intent to either outrage the modesty of the minor girl or to sexually harass her, and thus, no prima facie case was made out.

The bench further observed that the applicant deserved protection from arrest, as his custody was not needed for any purpose.

The father of the 17-year-old girl had lodged a complaint against the accused at a police station in Yavatmal, after which the rickshaw driver was booked under relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code for molestation.

On November 1, 2022, the accused held her hand, expressed her liking for her, and insisted that she sit in his auto so that he could drop her home, the complaint stated.

However, the girl ran away from the spot and narrated the incident to her father, after which an FIR was lodged against Rathod.

Justice Dangre, while granting anticipatory bail, warned the accused that he shall not repeat the act and that the protection conferred on him would be withdrawn if he did.

 
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