Calling a woman ‘item’ is sexual harassment, rules Mumbai court

The term is derogatory and ‘objectifies women in a sexual manner’, the judgement noted.

A Mumbai court last week sentenced a man to one-and-a-half years in jail for sexually harassing a minor girl by calling her an “item”, Bar and Bench reported on Tuesday.

The term is used by men to address “girls in a derogatory fashion as it objectifies them in a sexual manner”, Special Judge SJ Ansari said in his judgement. The convict was charged under Section 354 (outraging modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

“Such offences need to be dealt with a heavy hand as a lesson needs to be meted out to such road-side romeos, in order to protect the women from their uncalled for behaviour,” the judge noted in his order, according to Live Law.

The case dates back to 2015 when 25-year-old Abrar Khan was booked in Mumbai after the girl filed a complaint.

She alleged that Khan and his friends used to harass her repeatedly.

On the day of the crime, while she was returning home from her school, Khan pulled her hair, referred to her as “item” and asked where she was going, the girl alleged. After she objected to Khan’s behaviour, he abused the girl as well.

The police had registered a first information report based on the girl’s complaint, but Khan was granted anticipatory bail in the matter. Last week, the Dindoshi Sessions Court in Mumbai was hearing a plea filed by Khan seeking acquittal citing good behaviour, according to Live Law.

However, the judge rejected the petition and went ahead with the conviction.


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