Calling Unknown Women 'Darling' Is Sexual Harassment - Calcutta High Court


Mohul Ghosh

Mohul Ghosh

Mar 04, 2024


The Calcutta High Court has ruled that referring to an unknown woman as “darling” constitutes a criminal offence under Sections 354A and 509 of the Indian Penal Code.

Calling Unknown Women 'Darling' Is Sexual Harassment - Calcutta High Court

A single bench of Justice Jay Sengupta upheld the conviction of an accused who had called a lady police constable “darling” while in an inebriated state.

Court Rejects Defence Pleas, Upholds Offensive Nature of Remark

The Court rejected the defense’s arguments that the remark was made jokingly, that there may have been a clash of egos, and that the term “darling” is commonly used in conversation, films, etc.

It held that regardless of the alleged drunken state of the accused, calling an unknown lady “darling” is insulting to her modesty based on prevailing societal standards.

The accusation of the remark being a “sexually colored remark” intended to outrage her modesty was thereby upheld. The Court only reduced the sentence from three months to one month.

Case Background Details

The case arose when the accused made the remark upon seeing a police team, including the lady constable victim, during patrolling before Durga Puja.

He asked her “Kya darling challan karne aai hay kya?” leading to his arrest. The trial court convicted him under Section 354A and 509 IPC.

While technical grounds regarding date/venue were raised, the HC focused on the accused’s underlying intention behind the offensive remark.

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Mohul Ghosh
Mohul Ghosh
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