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Calling unknown woman "darling" an offence: Calcutta High Court

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Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court ruled that it is a criminal offence to call an unknown woman "darling". Such a crime would be penalized under Sections 354A (outraging modesty of a woman) and 509 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), India Today reported.

The Calcutta High Court's Port Blair bench, of single judge Jay Sengupta, ruled so and upheld the conviction of an accused Janak Ram, who called a woman police constable (WPC) "Darling", while he was drunk.

The court ruled that addressing a woman, whether she is a police officer or not, by a man on the street, who is drunken or not, using the word "darling" is patently offensive since the word has a sexually coloured remark.

The standards of Indian society do not permit a man to use expressions like "darling" at "unsuspecting, unacquainted women", the court ruled. The court also said that if the man, who filed an appeal at the high court for relief in the case, was sober at the time when he used the term against a woman police officer, the offence would have been more grave.

According to the WPC's complaint, the man asked, "kya darling, challan karne aayi hai kya? (Hi, darling, have you come to impose a fine?)," India Today translates.

Mayabunder Police Station filed an FIR against the man under Sections 354A (1) (iv) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the IPC.

Last year, the Judicial Magistrate, First Class at North and Middle Andaman, Mayabunder, convicted Janak Ram for offences under Sections 354A(1)(iv) and 509 of IPC and sent him to a three-month jail and fined him Rs 500 each for the two offences. Later, the Additional Sessions Judge, North & Middle Andaman, in November 2023, rejected the man's appeal against his conviction.

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TAGS:Calcutta High CourtIndia newsAndaman
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