Sexual harassment of males & the third gender: HC imposes 2 lakhs costs for “vague” PIL filed for publicity

Shiladitya Barma Vs The State of West Bengal & Ors

Calcutta HC

30/11/2018

W.P. No. 23017 (W) of 2018

About/from the judgment:

The High Court recently imposed costs of Rs. 2 lakhs on a practicing advocate for approaching it with a half-baked, vague petition on sexual harassment of men and those belonging to the third gender.

 

A bench comprising Chief Justice Debasish Kar Gupta and Justice Shampa Sarkar opined that the petitioner, high court advocate Shiladitya Barma, had approached the court “for the purpose of publicity and such an attempt at the cost of consumption of the time of the Court should be stopped in limine at the bottom of the door”.

 

It then imposed costs of Rs. 2 lakhs to be paid to the state exchequer within a fortnight.

 

The petition had, among other things, demanded a direction to the authorities to ensure that while handling “acts of sexual harassments of and non-consensual sexual contacts with the people of masculine and third genders of the State of West Bengal…proper steps, and procedures are taken for the resolution, settlement and/or prosecution and also all other steps required for doing complete justice to the said victims are duly been taken”.

 

It had further demanded that authorities be directed to not treat such situations negligently or as a joke.

 

Hearing the petition, at the outset, the court took a “cursory look” at the definition of a ‘Public Interest Litigation’ under Rule 56 of the Rules of Calcutta High Court. It then raised doubts over the intent behind the petition and the preparation undertaken for the same, observing,

 

“Keeping in mind the aforesaid provision of Rule 56 of the Rules of High Court at Calcutta, we are of the opinion that according to the settled principles of law in a Public Interest Litigation, the litigant has to lay a factual foundation of the statement made in the writ application and such information furnished by him should not be vague and indefinite and at the same time, the Court must be aware of the possibility to approach the Court to have a fishing and roving enquiry.”

 

As per the order, the court repeatedly asked the petitioner to point out an instance of failure on the part of the authorities to deal with the alleged harassment of a man or a person belonging to the third gender.

 

“In spite of repeated requests by this Court to the petitioner to point out the reason for inability of the persons/victims concerned to approach the law enforcing agencies and other authorities for their protection and/or for taking action against their offenders, the petitioner failed to meet the query of the Court,” the court noted.

 

At this juncture, the petitioner attempted to rely on unverified news reports, a move that didn’t garner him any brownie points with the court, which then pointed out the lack of any research conducted by him, rapping him for approaching it with vague pleadings.

 

The court explained, “So, this Court is not in a position to proceed on the basis of the submissions made before us from the Bar, as the pleadings are vague and lacking in material particulars. With regard to the question of undertaking the research work, we find that the petitioner is more concerned with the theoretical aspect of the matter and he wants to make submissions to prove his knowledge on the subject, instead of exposing specific cases of the victims he is representing and those who are not in a position to approach the Court of law.

 

In the averments there is nothing to show that the victims of such sexual harassment had approached the law enforcing agencies but there was total non-cooperation on behalf of the State machinery.”

 

It, therefore, dismissed the petition, though not without costs.

Read the Judgment

Knowledge and content of about almost all their respective descriptions are borrowed from law-related blogs and websites, we, therefore, wish to give proper credit to all the respective law-related blogs and websites like LiveLaw, Bar and Bench, LatestLaws, PathLegal, FirstLaw, Lawctopus, IndianKanoon, Manupatra, LegallyIndia etc.. Many of the judgments are also taken from them websites of Hon'ble Supreme Court and other respective Hon'ble High Courts!

Formats for use
Please reload

Talk to our volunteer on our #Helpline

8882-498-498

Single Helpline Number For Men In Distress In India

Join our mailing list!  Stay up-to-date on upcoming projects, offers & events.

  • Follow Daaman on Facebook
  • Follow Daaman on Twitter

© 2018 Daaman Welfare Society & Trust.

All rights reserved.

Beware, anyone can be a victim of gender bias in society and laws! 

Don't wait: Schedule a conversation with a trusted, experienced Men's Rights Activist to find out how only awareness is the key to fight and remove prevailing gender bias against men in society.