MUMBAI: A woman may know less but she understands more and knows the intention when a man touches her or even looks at her, the Bombay High Court said while suspending the sentence of a convict in the case of molestation of a former actor. Justice Prithviraj Chavan was hearing an appeal filed by a 41-year-old businessman Vikas Sachdev, convicted for molesting the former actor on board a domestic flight in December 2017. The court on Tuesday admitted Sachdev’s appeal and suspended his sentence till the appeal is heard and decided.
A sessions court here on January 15, 2020 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. He was awarded three years’ imprisonment in the case. The sessions court had on the same day granted bail to Sachdev and suspended the sentence imposed upon him for a period of three months.
On February 20, the businessman filed an appeal, claiming that the trial court erred in finding him guilty. Sachdev’s lawyer Aniket Nikam told the high court on Tuesday that his client has been wrongly convicted and even if his leg had touched the victim, it must have been a mistake and without any intention to harass her. Justice Chavan, however, asked why Sachdev had to keep his leg on the arm rest of the seat ahead of him. “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. 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. The court directed Sachdev to submit a fresh bail bond of Rs 25,000 and to not leave Mumbai without prior permission from the court.