Have you heard of the phrase “Chammak Challo”? Well, if you use it to address an Indian woman, you might land up in jail. That’s exactly why  First class judicial magistrate convicted a man who used this phrase for a woman in 2009.

According to the TOI, both the complainant and the accused, lived in the same building at Ghodbunder Road, Thane.

The court fined him Re 1 and simple imprisonment till proceedings were over for the day. He was convicted under section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code.

On January 9, 2009, at 9.15am, the complainant and her husband were returning home after a morning walk. That’s when the complainant’s leg touched the dustbin of the accused and it fell. Thinking that the complainant deliberately kicked it, he yelled at her referring to her as “Chammak Challo”.

The woman felt disgusted hearing those words. According to her, he insulted her modesty. She tried to address her grievances to the housing society but the authorities didn’t pay heed to her.

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Following this, she decided to approach the magistrate’s court. The judge said, “The words ‘chammak challo’ are Hindi words, and there are no such words in English. Also, the words are to be understood in Indian society by their use. Generally, they are used to insult a woman. They are not words appreciating a woman. When used, they cause irritation and anger to any woman. Therefore, the words amount to insulting the modesty of a woman, attract section 509 of the IPC.”

The accused’s imprisonment is a harsh lesson for all those men who use derogatory language to demean or objectify women. Hats off to the woman for standing up for her rights and dignity.