Sunday, January 27, 2019

Woman fined Rs 25 lakh for threat to file fake case of molestation

Slamming the misuse of gender protection laws, the 
Bombay high court
recently imposed a fine of Rs 25 lakh on a woman entrepreneur and her husband. Neha Gandhir, the proprietor of Haryana-based Feel Good India company, which was involved in a trademark infringement fight with Mumbai-based Sapat and Company, had allegedly threatened to file false molestation charges against the court receiver.

“Time and again, it is noted with distress, that a socially enabling piece of legislation, is being grossly misused with impunity, by the very gender for whose empowerment it has been enacted, leaving the male/s facing grossly wrong and derogatory charges, which they have to thereafter defend themselves against. Such gross and 
 of a socially enabling piece of legislation has to be sternly condemned by the Courts and dealt with a very stern hand,” said Justice S Kathawalla.

Gandhir’s lawyers sought leniency considering the fact that she was a young entrepreneur with two children. Gandhir admitted that “in a fit of rage”, she had snatched the photographic equipment and threatened the court receiver and representatives of Sapat. She said the “use of the word ‘molestation’ was ‘unintended in spirit’ and was as such used as a ‘term of art’ and was said in a state of great fear and apprehension”.

The HC refused to accept the explanation. “If such abhorrent behaviour is left unpunished, by showing compassion to a person who knowingly, grossly abuses the process of law, and thereafter attempts to justify the same by saying that she did it in a fit of rage, the court will send out a wrong message to the general public,” said the judge. “Such conduct may also deter court officials from executing orders against women,” said the judge. 

The case was filed by Sapat against Feel Good for infringing on the former’s trademark name for a cough syrup. The HC on December 21, 2018, restrained Feel Good from infringing the copyright and appointed a court receiver to seize goods from the company’s factories. The confrontation occurred on January 4, when the court receiver and representatives of the other company tried to video-record loading of goods into a tempo. “Gandhir tried to snatch away his phone, asked him to delete what was video-graphed and us-ed the most easily available weapon to an unscrupulous and dishonest woman, when her dishonesty is exposed, by threatening them that she will level false allegations of molestation against them,” the court observed.

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