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26 May 2020, 19:48 HRS IST
  • PTI
  • Sexual harassment case against angel investor Murthy quashed

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12:17 HRS IST

Mumbai, Sep 18 (PTI)
The Bombay High Court has quashed a 2004 sexual harassment case filed against angel investor Mahesh Murthy, noting that the reason for delay in filing the case 14 years later is not "properly explained".

Following a complaint filed by a woman, the suburban Bandra Police had registered the case against Murthy in March 2018 under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 354 (sexual harassment) and 509 (outraging the modesty of a woman).

The woman alleged that in February 2004, when she met Murthy at a coffee shop here, he touched her inappropriately and kissed her against her will.

Murthy approached the high court earlier this month after a magistrate took cognizance of the charge sheet filed in the case.

In his plea, Murthy claimed that criminal law places a limitation on when certain offences can be filed and Section 468 of the Code of Criminal Procedure bars a court from taking cognizance after lapse of the period of limitation.

In cases lodged under IPC Sections 354 and 509, the limitation period is three years.

After hearing arguments, a division bench of Justices Ranjit More and N J Jamadar noted that the magistrate, after expiry of the period of limitation, could not have taken cognizance of the charge sheet.

"We have perused the order taking cognizance by the magistrate concerned, and we find that neither there is an application by the prosecution for extension of limitation or condonation of delay nor there are reasons for condoning such a delay by the magistrate," the court said in its order passed last week.

The bench held that continuation of prosecution of Murthy would be "abuse of the process of law".

"The allegation against the petitioner that he is a serial sexual offender would not be relevant to examine the validity and legality of the criminal proceedings pending before the learned magistrate," the court said.

Murthy is co-founder of Seedfund and founder and chief executive officer of Pinstorm Technologies Private Limited, a pay-for-performance digital brand management firm.

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