The Madras High Court in its latest order has observed that the prosecution did right when it registered the case under Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 2002 against the accused because the Complainant/ Victim (a transgender) Neka sees herself as a woman.
The Bench of Justice G.R. Swaminathan heard the petition (filed under Sec. 482 CrPC) filed by the Petitioner-Accused who was booked under Sections 294(b) and 506(i) of I.P.C. And Section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 2002.
Facts of the Case-
The Petitioner- Accused is the owner of a lodge and the Second Respondent/ Victim (Neka) stayed in one of the rooms of the said lodge.
The Complainant accused that on the date of the matter, the Petitioner/ Accused tried to enter her room without her consent and when she questioned this, he started abusing her in inappropriate and filthy language.
The Counsel representing the Petitioner submitted before the Court that a complainant is a transgender person and so it was not right for the prosecution to apply the provisions of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 2002.
The Court took the reference to the Supreme Court’s verdict in the case of National Legal Services Authority Vs. Union of India( 2014) 5 SCC 483, in which it observed that a transgender person holds a right to self-identifying her gender and this self-determination cannot be questioned by anyone.
The Court further said, “In the present case, the de facto complainant (Neka) identifies herself as a woman. So the prosecution has done right by implying the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 2002. The Court, therefore, found no reason to support the petitioner’s counsel that the application of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 2002, is invalid.”
The Court rejected the Criminal Original Petition.