A Delhi court has ordered framing of charges against former Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti and 16 others in a case of allegedly barging into a flat occupied by African women, criminally intimidating them and outraging their modesty at Malviya Nagar’s Khirki Extension at midnight in January 2014.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate-II Samar Vishal at the Patiala House courts said, “There is sufficient evidence that some of these victims were beaten and were caused simple hurt punishable under Section 323 IPC. They [the accused persons] will be, therefore, liable for framing of charge against them under Section 323 IPC read with Section 149 [unlawful assembly] IPC.”
‘Forced to urinate’
“Some of these victims have alleged that they were assaulted and their modesty was outraged. They were forced to urinate in front of the mob and therefore this mob has committed an offence under Section 354 [outraging the modesty of a woman] and 354C [voyeurism] IPC. They will therefore also be liable for framing of charge against them under Sections 354 and 354C IPC read with Section 149 IPC,” Mr. Vishal said.
“Further, they [the accused persons] forcefully entered into this house and committed the offence of house trespass punishable under Section 452 IPC. They will therefore be also liable for framing of charge against them under Section 452 IPC read with section 149 IPC,” the order said.
“The accused were continuously uttering racial comments, which have the tendency to promote on the ground of race, disharmony, feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different racial groups and assaulted these victims, which is prejudical to the maintenance of harmony between different racial groups and thereby prima facie committed an offence under Section 153A [promoting enmity between classes] of IPC. The necessary sanction of the government to prosecute the accused under Section 153A IPC has been given by the State. They will therefore be also liable for framing of charge against them under Section 153A IPC read with Section 149 IPC,’’ the order said.
“Some of these victims were stated as prostitutes in front of them with the intention to insult their modesty and therefore such words will amount to commission of offence under Section 509 IPC. They will therefore be also liable for framing of charge against them under Section 509 [insulting the modesty of a woman by word or gesture] IPC read with Section 149 IPC,” the order further said.
The Delhi Police had chargesheeted these accused persons in 2014 alleging that “nine African women were victims of molestation and manhandling by a mob led by Mr. Bharti”. These women are among the prosecution witnesses mentioned in the chargesheet.
An MM court has recorded the statements of some of these women under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which are admissible as evidence in the trial. The FIR in the case was lodged on direction of the court on a complaint by some of the victims. The victims also alleged that they were subjected to cavity search during their medical examination at AIIMS.
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