Former Jammu and Kashmir minister Shabir Ahmad Khan will face trial in a sexual harassment case filed against him by a woman doctor after a court here ruled that there was “sufficient material” on record to proceed against the Congress leader.
“Prima facie, there is sufficient material to presume that accused has committed offence under section 354, 509 RPC and ground exists for holding trial against him,” Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar V S Bhou said yesterday.
The court observed that the concluding lines of statement of victim specifically pinpoint the allegations, which fall within the ambit of Sections 354 and 509 RPC.
The woman doctor had alleged that Khan, the then Minister of State for Health, “acted like a sexual predator” and tried to molest her in his office at Winter Secretariat here on January 28 last year.
The court directed the prosecution to “lead evidence in substance of charge” on May 16 after Khan pleaded not guilty to the charges.
If found guilty, Khan, a former MLA from Rajouri, faces five years in prison and fine under section 354 RPC while section 509 RPC provides for punishment with imprisonment of three years and fine if he is found guilty of these offences.
“In view of the allegations and evidence on record and statement made by the victim, when taken in totality, resumption of commission of offences is disclosed on part of accused….
“Court has only to see a ground whether offences alleged against accused are presumably prima facie disclosed or not while framing charge and whether accused can be put on trial for the offence or not,” the court said.
The court also observed that even for presumption of commission of offences, it is sufficient ground for framing charge and putting the accused to trial.
“The court cannot conduct mini trial and cannot presume the end of trial at the stage of framing charge. Prima facie there is sufficient material to presume that accused has committed (the) offences,” it added.
Khan had resigned as MoS Health on February 7, 2014, a day after police registered the case against him on a complaint by the doctor. He evaded arrest for six day and appeared before the investigators only after the High court granted conditional interim bail to him in the case.
The court also rejected Khan’s application which sought a gag order on media reporting the proceedings of the case.