Karnataka HC Judgement On IPC Section 354A

Doctors’ access to patients’ bodies for healing is divine; misuse may invoke IPC Section 354A.- Karnataka HC


This case involves the petitioner, a doctor by profession, challenging the registration of a criminal complaint for offenses punishable under Section 354A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The complainant, who alleged sexual harassment during a medical examination, brought the complaint forward, prompting the petitioner to seek quashing of the FIR on the grounds that the allegations were false, and his actions were part of a routine medical procedure.

Facts of the Case

The complainant claimed that she went to Orbsky Hospital in JP Nagar 7th Phase, Bangalore, on March 20, 2024, claiming to be experiencing chest trouble. After seeing her, the petitioner—a medical professional—suggested an ECG and a chest X-ray and requested that she post the results on WhatsApp. The complainant was instructed to visit the doctor’s personal clinic, Prasiddhi Clinic, on March 21, 2024, at 2:00 p.m. the next day, following the submission of the reports.

The complainant claims that during this visit, the petitioner asked her to lie down and examined her heartbeat with a stethoscope on her breast before telling her to pull up her blouse and bra. The complainant further said that after the doctor kissed and caressed her left breast, she went out of the clinic and told her family about it. On March 22, 2024, a complaint was filed in accordance with Section 354A of the IPC.

Petitioner’s Argument

The petitioner contended that he was only carrying out his professional obligations. He claimed that the complainant’s complaint of chest pain was the sole reason the petitioner used his stethoscope to check her heartbeat on her breast. He argued that it was untrue that he gave the plaintiff instructions to take off her shirt and bra and that there was misbehavior after that. He also claimed that the FIR should be quashed because the offense under Section 354A IPC calls for certain ingredients, which are missing in this instance.

Respondent’s Argument

Learned attorney of the government, opposed the petition, arguing that the complaint detailed the incident and warranted investigation. He contended that the nature of the allegations required thorough examination and requested the dismissal of the petition.

Court’s Observation

The complainant’s account of the events, if accurate, meets the definition of “unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures” under Section 354A IPC, the court said after reviewing the charges. The Court emphasized the need for confidence in the doctor-patient connection as well as the ethical standards set forth by the Indian Medical Council, which require a female attendant to be present when a male doctor examines a female patient.

The Court emphasized that a doctor’s access to a patient’s body is meant to be used for healing, and that any improper use of that access would be considered a breach of trust. The Court decided that the investigation had to continue due to the gravity of the claims and the possible transgression of ethical standards.

Court’s Decision 

The petition was rejected, allowing the investigation to continue. The Court clarified that the findings were specifically for the consideration of the petition under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. and would not influence the investigation or any further proceedings against the petitioner.


The Court took note of the standards established by the Indian Medical Council and stressed the value of upholding ethical limits and trust in the doctor-patient relationship. The Court denied the petitioner’s request to have the FIR quashed due to the gravity of the charges, thus permitting the inquiry to continue. This ruling emphasizes the need for a careful examination if patient trust and professional behavior are in doubt.

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