The Himachal Pradesh High Court has quashed a 2018 FIR against veteran Bollywood actor Jeetendra, that charged him with attempting a sexual assault on his cousin around 48 years back. Justice Ajay Mohan Goel, on last Monday. dismissed the FIR lodged back on February 16, 2018, filed under section Section 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the IPC. If found guilty, veteran Bollywood actor may have faced 2-year imprisonment at maximum.
Penning down a 26-page judgment, Judge Goel said that the contents of the FIR do not provide strong ground to begin proceedings against the accused, as they appear to be “vague” and inherently absurd. Justice Goel found credible evidence that the FIR was filed with a mala fide intention, as the woman’s daughter had been rejected in an audition by Balaji Motion Pictures Limited that is run by Jeetendra’s family.
When it comes to the content of the FIR, it said that Jeetendra’s cousin was a victim of the sexual assault that took place back in 1971 when the actor took her to a room at a hotel in Shimla. While she was asleep, he allegedly joined the two beds and tried to outrage her modesty. He was drunk at that time, she claimed.
Her cousin claimed that the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment encouraged her to speak against the “abuse” and go ahead with filing with the FIR. At the time of the incident, both she and Jeetendra were aged 18 and 28 respectively.
In her reply, Jeetendra filed a petition, seeking the quashing of the FIR. His petition claimed that as his family runs a reputed media house, his cousin was enraged as her daughter was not selected for a role during the auditions. The court further said that it is evident from the record that the daughter of Jeetendra’s cousin did give an audition for Balaji Motion Pictures Limited.
“This lends credibility to the contention that the lodging of the FIR was an act of mala fide and a result of the daughter of his cousin having been rejected,” the court said. It also added that the contents of the FIR are “vague”.
The Judge further observed,
“They lead to the conclusion that the allegations are “so absurd and inherently improbable, on the basis of which, no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.”