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Calling Woman ‘Darling’ is Sexual Harassment.

by Sivakumar

The Calcutta High Court has held that calling an unknown woman “darling” is offensive; and would be a criminal offence under Sections 354A (outraging modesty of a woman) and 509 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The punishment will be ( Jail, Fine or could be both ).

While affirming the conviction of Janak Ram for calling a female officer “darling” while intoxicated; the High Court’s Port Blair bench’s lone judge made the statement. According to Justice Sengupta, using sexually suggestive language is illegal under Section 354A.

“Using the term ‘darling’ to refer to an unidentified woman on the street regardless of whether they are police officers or not, is clearly offensive and is essentially a sexually suggestive statement,” the bench stated.Judge Sengupta stated that the norms of Indian society currently do not allow a man to “gleefully be permitted” to refer to “unsuspecting unacquainted women” with terms like “darling.”

The court further stated that the “gravity of the offence would perhaps be even more” if the incident had occurred when the appellant was sober.

Janak Ram had asked the woman constable (the complainant in the case) “kya darling, challan karne aayi hai kya? (Hi, darling, have you come to impose a fine?)”.

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