The offence punishable under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code. reads as under:
“Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty – Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both”.
All the ingredients of offence punishable under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code such as, the criminal force applied on the woman and that force had been used on the woman intending to outrage her modesty or knowing that the act would likely to outrage her modesty are proved beyond reasonable doubt and accused has been rightly convicted by the learned Trial Court under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code.
At this juncture, it is appropriate to incorporate Section 354 IPC 354. Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty.Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both. The ingredients reads as follows:
Essential ingredients are as follows:
- A woman was assaulted or criminal force was used.
- Thereby accused intended to outrage her modesty.
- Or knowing that her modesty will be outraged.
- The essential ingredients of the offence under Section 354 IPC are as under.-
(i) that the person assaulted must be a woman;
(ii) that the accused must have used criminal force on her; and
(iii) that the criminal force must have been used on the woman intending thereby to outrage her modesty.
The law with regard to the grant of leave is well settled by a catena of judgments. Leave to Appeal can be granted only where it is shown that the conclusions arrived at by the Trial Court are perverse or there is misapplication of law or any legal principle. The High Court cannot entertain a petition merely because another view is possible or that another view is more conceivable. In Arulvelu and Anr. vs. State : 2009 (10) SCC 206, while referring with approval the earlier judgment in Ghurey Lal Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh : (2008) 10 SCC 450, the Supreme Court reiterated the principles which must be kept in mind by the High Court while entertaining an Appeal against acquittal. The principles are:
“1. The accused is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. The accused possessed this presumption when he was before the trial court. The trial court’s acquittal bolsters the presumption that he is innocent.
- The power of reviewing evidence is wide and the appellate court can re-appreciate the entire evidence on record. It can review the trial court’s conclusion with respect to both facts and law, but the Appellate Court must give due weight and consideration to the decision of the trial court.
- The appellate court should always keep in mind that the trial court had the distinct advantage of watching the demeanour of the witnesses. The trial court is in a better position to evaluate the credibility of the witnesses.
- The appellate court may only overrule or otherwise disturb the trial court’s acquittal if it has “very substantial and compelling reasons” for doing so.
- If two reasonable or possible views can be reached – one that leads to acquittal, the other to conviction – the High Courts/appellate courts must rule in favour of the accused”.
It is a settled principle of criminal jurisprudence that the burden of proof lies on the prosecution and the prosecution has to prove a charge beyond reasonable doubt. The accused has a right to fair trial and the presumption of innocence is in favour of the accused.