The Bombay High Court on Tuesday observed that a woman may know less but she understands more and knows the intention when a man touches her or even looks at her while suspending the sentence of a convict in the case of molestation of a former actor.
A single-judge bench of Justice Prithviraj K Chavan while giving the bail to the 41-year-old business on a personal bond of Rs 25,000 with two sureties placed the condition that he cannot leave Mumbai without the court’s permission.
The court on Tuesday admitted Vikas Sachdev’s appeal and suspended his sentence till the appeal is heard and decided by it.
A Sessions court on January 15, convicted Sachdev under IPC section 354 (assault or criminal force on woman with an intent to outrage her modesty) and provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual offences (POCSO) Act, as the victim was a minor when the incident took place.
The businessman filed an appeal on February 20 before the High Court, claiming that the trial court had erred in attributing the guilt to him.
Advocate Aniket Nigam told the high court then that his client has been wrongly convicted and even if his leg had touched the victim, it must have been a mistake and unintentional.
“A woman may know less but she understands more. It is a natural gift…touch…look…a man will not understand but a woman knows the intention behind these,” the judge said.
He further said, “It is only the victim who can talk about the accused person’s mens rea (intention), the judge said, adding the accused will never admit that he touched intentionally. You (Sachdev) were travelling in business class where you have lot of space, then why keep your leg on someone else’s arm rest?” the judge asked.
When Nikam argued that the victim did not complain to the flight crew members and walked out of the flight smiling, the judge said there is no formula on how a woman should behave or react in such scenarios.
“This is not mathematics. There is no straitjacket formula on how a woman would behave or react when faced with such a situation,” the court said.
The incident took place when the victim, then 17 years old, was travelling by an Air Vistara flight from Delhi to Mumbai.
After landing, the victim narrated the ordeal through a video post on Instagram.
Sachdev was subsequently arrested and later released on bail.