The Dindoshi sessions court on Tuesday reserved its judgment till January 7 in a case against a Mumbai-based businessman, who has been accused of sexually harassing an actor on board a Delhi-Mumbai flight in 2017.
A resident of Jammu & Kashmir, the victim, who was a minor at the time of the incident, has not been re-examined by the court, as the police claimed she did not respond to their attempts to contact her. While the actor and her mother had deposed before the court in January, when she was summoned by the court for a second time in September to identify the accused, she did not appear before it.
On December 9, 2017, the victim, who was 17, had shared a social media post claiming that while she was travelling business class with her mother from Delhi to Mumbai, a man sitting behind her had kept his foot on the armrest of her seat and that she felt it brushing her back. Based on the post, a complaint was filed against the accused under Section 354 (sexual harassment) of the IPC and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
During the trial, nine witnesses were examined, including the victim and her mother in January. In September, however, the prosecution had moved an application seeking the recall of the victim for her examination-in-chief, citing that she was not asked to identify the accused in January. Usually, after the victim’s deposition in court, the victim is asked to identify if the accused against whom the allegations are made is present in court.
The court had allowed the application stating that for the “purpose of fair trial”, it should be allowed. However, while the actor had not turned up before the court in September, when Internet services were shut in J&K, the accused had not given his consent to identification by video conference.
The prosecution had maintained that while attempts were made to bring the victim before the court, there was no response from her side. During the final arguments, it had said that the actor in her deposition had spoken about the alleged incident. It was submitted that there were four passengers in business class on the day of the incident, including the victim, her mother and the accused. The accused, it was claimed, had been the first to reach the plane and had “lied” about falling asleep.
The defence, meanwhile, had claimed that the victim was “hallucinating” and that the accused had been sleeping throughout the flight. The 41-year-old accused is currently out on bail in the case.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines