In a landmark judicial milestone, a man was sentenced to three years in prison and fined Rs 15,000 for harassing a female police officer in Kochi, Kerala.
The accused committed the heinous crime of making over 300 phone calls to the Vanitha police station's official number with the purposeful intent of harassing the woman Civil Police Officer.
According to the prosecution's case, the accused repeatedly called the female police officer with the nefarious intent of insulting her modesty, even going so far as to request sexual favours.
The officer's well-being had suffered as a result of her terrible behaviour, which had caused her tremendous distress.
Following a comprehensive examination of the evidence and arguments given, Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ernakulam, Sajini BS, found the accused guilty of the offences under Sections 354A(1)(i)(i) and 120(o) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), as well as Section 120(o) of the Kerala Police Act.
However, the court was unable to establish the stalking charge under Section 354D of the IPC.
Justice Sajini BS explained that repeatedly phoning a police station's official phone number cannot be compared with physically following an individual for personal interaction, resulting in the stalking allegation being dropped.
The prosecution effectively proved the offence under Section 354A, which deals with punishment for sexual harassment, according to the court.
It was also discovered that the accused's relentless acts not only caused discomfort and mental suffering to the targeted police officer but also had a negative impact on other members of the police station's employees.
This type of behaviour jeopardised their public duty to respond to emergency phone calls containing information and complaints from the general public.
The court's decision emphasised the gravity of the accused's conduct, noting that they not only caused the victim pain but also hampered the police station's capacity to perform its critical functions.